Fishermen in troubled waters again
Adverse weather conditions and fear of the pandemic once again plunged fishermen into crisis.
Following the massive return of migrant fishermen and allied workers to their respective states following the spread of COVID-19, many owners of small and medium-sized boats in Kozhikode district are canceling deep-sea fishing and exploring options for survival during the lean season.
A situation close to the trawl ban prevails in most ports, the number of anchored boats increasing day by day. Fishermen at the ports of Puthiyappa and Beypore said they were in the midst of the crisis and had no choice but to cancel trips to save on fuel and labor costs.
“The seas have been rough for weeks, making it difficult for owners of small and medium-sized boats to survive. Although a few ventured into the rough seas, the catches were poor. We fear that the situation will last for a few more weeks, ”said Irfan Habeeb, a fisherman from the port of Vellayil. He pointed out that several unemployed fishermen had opted for the construction work.
Fishermen in the port of Puthiyappa said they did not even receive enough income to manage operating costs due to the decline in fishery resources. They argued that at least 40,000 yen was needed, including the cost of fuel, to prepare a medium-sized boat for a single trip. But the income generated is not even enough to cover operational expenses.
“A majority of migrant fishermen from Odisha and Maharashtra have already returned home following the alarming spread of COVID-19. Only trawlers with better facilities will be able to survive the crisis, ”said Karichal Preman, vice president of the All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association.
He said that recurring accidents involving vessels and fishing boats had aggravated the feeling of insecurity among fishermen.
Feeling badly, the leaders of the fishermen’s associations called on the state government and the Department of Fisheries to tackle unemployment in the sector and provide relief.