Mangalore, June 15: Hundreds of mechanised boats in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts will not put out to sea for nearly two months as the annual ban on fishing activities across the coastal Karnataka came into force on Friday.
The ban has been enforced under Coastal Fishing (Regulation) Act 1986 on deep sea fishing using mechanised and traditional boats fitted with engines of 10 horse power capacity or more.
The ban intended to allow fish to breed, will remain in force for 57 days and will conclude on August 10 in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. In Uttara Kannada district the ban will be in force only for 47 days and will end on July 31.
However, use of fishing boats having up to 10 horse power or traditional boats without engines are permitted during the period of ban.
The region’s supply of fish during this holiday will come from the east coast, particularly from Chennai. In Andhra Pradesh, the ban on fishing is in force in the month of April-May, said sources in Marine Products Exports Development Authority.
Responding to the ban order, fishermen have returned with their trawlers, long-liners and other mechanised vessels to the shore and have anchored them in the fishing ports.
During the ban period, fishermen generally go for traditional fishing where they will be able to fetch the income of some 30 days. Country craft of 10 horse power engine are used for the purpose. They go four to five nautical miles into the sea and catch fishes in traditional way. Some others go for fishing in the inland water bodies like rivers and lakes.
“If any tragedies occur during the period of the ban, the concerned will be solely held responsible, and the government will not pay any relief or compensation. The mechanised boats which do not obey this ban, will lose subsidy, concession on the central excise and supply of diesel sans sales tax,” said sources in fisheries department.
Due to the ban the prices of fish have skyrocketed in all three coastal districts.
Senior fishermen leader Vasudeva Boloor said that as per Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, there are 129 unorganised sectors in India. About 93 per cent of the labourers are unorganised. The state government has come forward to provide insurance, pension for these unorganised labourers. “If our fishermen get all the benefits, then it will help them.”
The fishermen in Mangalore are facing the problem of lack of space to anchor the boats. The work on extension of the jetty is pending for the last several years.
The work on dredging is taken up recently. At present, about 700 mechanised boats can be anchored in the Mangalore Old Port area. As per the available records, there are 65 purse seine boats and 1,005 trawlers.
As per the fisheries department, the fish catch from April 2011 to March 2012 was Rs 620 crore. Prawns, pomfret, sardine, mackeral, silver fish were exported in large quantity.
It may be mentioned here that the Karnataka Budget for 2012-13 has increased the supply of tax-free diesel to fishermen to 1.25 lakh kilo litres for 2012-13. This was 1 lakh kilo litres in the 2011-12 Budget. But later during that year, the quantity was increased by 15,000 kilo litres taking the total to 1.15 lakh kilo litres during 2011-12.
The Goa Government has also imposed annual fishing ban from June 15 to July 31. Efforts of the Government to extend the 45-day ban to 60 days failed to materialise this year too as there was no consensus between various groups and stakeholders in fishing activity, said a spokesman of Goa government. The ban would be monitored and violations by trawlers and other mechanised vessels would invite strong action, he said.