Call to issue boat licenses only to traditional fishermen

September 8th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, Sep 8 (IANS) With fish catch shrinking substantially, the fishermen in Kerala want the government to issue registration and licenses only to fishing boats belonging to traditional fishermen.The fishermen organisations put forward this suggestion Monday at the sitting of a panel of experts and officials formed to examine ways to conserve the fish resources of the state.

The panel was headed by B. Madhusoodana Kurup, advisor to the minister of fisheries.

“Those who are not from the traditional fishermen community should not enter the fishing sector. The outsiders who invest Rs.30-40 lakh (Rs.3-4 million) on a boat would not bother about conserving fish resources; they will only look for profit,” said R. Gangadharan, Kasargod district president of Kerala Pradesh Fishermen Congress.

According to fishermen organisations, the extensive use of nets with small mesh, night fishing and pollution are causing destruction of fish resource in the sea. However, they could not agree on clamping a blanket ban on issuing new registration to fishing boats.

“With unemployment remaining high in the state, many educated children from fishermen families have no other options left other than working in this sector,” Traditional Fishworkers’ Protection Council state president Satheeshan Kuridyadi said.

“If the government denies registration for all new boats, the children will be denied an opportunity for employment,” he added.

Gangadharan said the fishing boats from Kerala’s neighbouring states like Karnataka are conducting night trawling on Kerala coast.

“In Kasargod district, as per the decision of ‘Kadal Kodati’ (sea court - a community based forum to settle disputes) we can go fishing only between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since, the boats from other states are not bound by this decision, they will come and catch all our fish during night,” he added.

Officials said it was not possible to prevent this. “The boats from Kerala also go for fishing to neighbouring states. We can take action only if outside boats enter the fishing harbours in Kerala,” Kurup said.

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