“Today is the fifth day and one of my boats has returned. Another boat is yet to return from the seas. Earlier, a boat on the first day itself returns with a good catch. But this year the situation is so bad and no one can deny the decrease in fish wealth,” said All Kerala Boat Owners Welfare Association state committee member Skanda Das.
Today is the fifth day of waiting for the return of many of the fishing boats that had ventured into the sea after the seasonal trawl ban. Normally, the fishing boats return in a day or two with a good catch, a bumper catch after the trawl ban. But the long wait for the boats does not give promising days ahead with the fishermen quite anxious of the days ahead.
Meanwhile, All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association general secretary Joseph Xavier said that the first days does not give a better picture. “When compared to last season, this year does not seem to be good. Only a few boats have come back, may be about 60 to only 70 boats, have only comeback. The other boats that have ventured out are yet to come back,” he said.
Stating that the boats earlier used to come back in a day or two with nets full of fish, he said that this season has not seen that much catch. “We are really worried about what the sea has for us. Each boat has undergone major repairs and lakhs of money has been spent on these boats. Apart from this, the other expenses also come to lakhs. Earlier times, the first catch used to be a bumper. But today, there is anxiety as the boats that have come back do not bring hope. After spending lakhs, we are really worried if we would be able to get back our money,” he said.
Reflecting the same sentiments, Skanda Das said “everyone is so anxious of the coming days. The fishermen are so worried of what would happen in the coming days.”
Noting that the sector was going through a major crisis, he said that fish catch was not that profitable with expense increasing every day. “A litre of diesel now costs Rs 73.80 and when my boat returned after five days, about 3000 litres of diesel was used. Apart from this, the expense of the workers should also be taken up. All these when calculated, one can see how much expense a boat owner has to shed or a boat for a single catch. With the expense increasing, it is hard to get into fishing business,” he said.
Skanda Das also said that trawling ban had no impact on the fish wealth. He also made it clear that the trawl ban could be imposed in November – December.Last week, a boat that came back to Kollam fishing Harbour had brought in much sludge, plastic along with fish in the net. This has been viewed as a serious issue with the fishermen saying that nature of the sea has been seeing continuous change.