Boat owners want 45 days less of trawl ban; calls for fishing holiday

By Anupama Vimal

When the Kerala government and traditional fishermen in the state want to continue with the 52 day trawl ban this year, the boat owners in the state have called for restricting the ban period to less than 45 days.

Noting that they have already lost a good number of fishing days, All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association general secretary Joseph Xavier told that they are for restricting the trawl ban to 45 days or less this year. “We have already lost about 46 days post Ockhi and also a quite number of days at times warnings are issued. We lost almost five to ten days recently during cyclone Fani. All this has affected our fishing. At this stage, we will not be able to afford a ban of more than 45 days,’’ he said.
Despite the boat owners stating that they are for less than 45days of ban, the government is likely to stick to the 52 day ban that was imposed in 2018.

Joseph Xavier said that they will intimate the government about their decision on the trawl ban period. Noting that the government had not yet called them for a meeting, he said that the government had already had a meeting with the traditional fishermen unions. “We hope that the government would soon call a meeting. The government generally calls a meeting ahead of trawl ban,” he said.

Stressing that trawl ban would never serve the purpose, he said that the government should instead think of ‘fishing holiday’. “Many countries have imposed fishing holidays. Let the government also have such a holiday here when no one will be at sea. No fishing boats, be it traditional, mechanised or any boats, be allowed to venture into sea at this time. Let us keep the sea calm and see the results,’’ he said and suggested that the government should give a fishing holiday instead of trawl ban period and evaluate the results.

Jospeh Xavier also opined that fish resources should be protected and restrictions should be imposed in a particular region for a certain period so that the fish could breed in the nestlings.

Noting that many studies have proved that there was no purpose in trawl ban, he said “trawl ban was introduced at a time when there were actual traditional vessels. But now who is using catamarans? All traditional mechanised vessels are now much bigger. They go with fish nets that have one to 1.5 km encircling capacity. They have a capacity to catch about ten tonne of fish in a single catch. The gravity of the traditional fishing vessel has increased. It is here that we call for a fishing holiday rather than a trawl ban.”

The traditional fishermen have been demanding an increase of the trawl ban period to 60 days and the government is also for increasing the ban period. However, the state government is said to stick on to last year’s ban as they do not want a confrontation in the issue.

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