By Anupama Vimal
Michael from Vizhjnjam in Kerala has a sad tale to tell when coming to fish catch during the famine season that usually falls from November to June. Back from the sea, he finds it hard to get a good catch and thereby laments of how to feed his family.
“It is only a few years that we have come across such shortage. We have only a few fish out there but when we go there, we never get a good catch and the few fish that is left has been caught by those using Led lights, which has become a deadly affair here,’’ he said.
This is not just Michael’s tale but it is the sad story of almost all the traditional fishermen in the entire shores in the country.
Talking to kadapuram.com, Ronny from Goa also has the same tale to say. “One of the main issues here is that of LED lights that is being used by many of the fishing vessels. Though we have given many representations and also held many agitations, no solution has been found,” he said.
Stating that this illegal fishing using lights could harm the fish wealth, Kerala Matsyathozhilali Aikya Vedi president Charles George said that the trend has been widely spread across the fishing community.
He called for a national policy as well as policy at the state level for curtailing such menace. “What we need is a consensus among every one so that the marine future is safe,’’ he said and added that over exploitation would also lead to a collapse of the food chain.
Charles George said that though 12 nautical miles was exclusively reserved for traditional fishermen, there is a trend now for using LED light among traditional fishermen in Kerala that has cropped up new issues. As far as Kerala is concerned, he said that the KMFR Act stipulates formation of state level as well as regional fisheries management committees for overseeing such issues. These committees should be strengthened, he added.
He also mentioned that trawling vessels are now using these lights to catch fish, which is illegal.
Meanwhile, National Fish Workers Forum general secretary T Peter opined that marine enforcement should be strengthened to curb such illegal activities. He also demanded that the laws should be strictly implemented and no one should be spared.