Agri Business

Allow Kerala fishing boats to venture into deep sea, plead operators

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on April 07, 2021

Move would benefit fishermen and also deter Chinese trawlers, says Association

Mechanised fishing boat operators in Kerala are insisting that they be allowed to carry out fishing in deep sea waters like their counterparts in other States and countries.

The operators, who are curbed by the State Government not permitting them to venture out into the deep sea, have pleaded their case with the Union Government. While fishing boats in the State are not allowed, trawlers, particularly from China, are allowed to venture into deep sea.

All-weather employment

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal, general secretary of All Kerala Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators Association, said fishermen in the State are capable of fishing in deep waters, and to any extent, if permitted. If permission is granted to them, the presence of Chinese fishing trawlers could be deterred, he said, adding that there are about 800 Chinese fishing boats currently engaged in fishing in the Arabian Sea.

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In a memorandum submitted to the visiting Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh, the Association requested that fishing should be made an all-weather employment with many expatriates migrating to fishing as a vocation after having lost their jobs.

The association also sought the Minister’s intervention to urge the State Government to not impose a fee on fishing boats that operate beyond 12 nautical miles. Other State governments are not levying any such fee. The sea and its resources beyond 12 nautical miles from shore fall within the jurisdiction of the Union Government, Kalapurackal argued.

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Subsidised fuel

Fishing has become a high-cost venture, in view of the rising price of diesel. The association urged the government to provide fuel to fishing boats at a reduced or subsidised rate to help the industry.

Of late, the fishing sector. including its subsidiaries, is passing through a critical phase on account of a host of issues that include shortage of fish in the seas due to climate change, Covid-related restrictions, etc. This has impacted more than three lakh fish workers and their families.

Published on April 07, 2021

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