Fishing boat operators have raised their concern over the indiscriminate catch of juvenile fish from the Kerala coast by boats operating from neighbouring states.

These small fish (minimum legal size) are being used as feeds in aquaculture farms on the eastern coast and its business is thriving to the tune of ₹5-7 crore per day, the Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association said, while taking up the issue before the National Fisheries Policy Review Committee.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal, association general secretary, told BusinessLine that there is a noticeable reduction in small fish catch following the ban imposed by Kerala Government last year. However, such random catch is on the rise in the recent period and catchers are utilising the facilities of a private fishing harbour in Kanyakumari district as their base to find market for small fish.

Besides calling a blanket ban on juvenile fish catch on the Indian coast, the boat operators alleged that several lobbies are working against imposing such a total restriction. This arbitrary method has put several fishing harbours in Kerala on the verge of closure for want of sufficient catch, forcing the fisher-folk to migrate to various other sectors for jobs.