Flagrant violations of fishing ban worry traditional fishermen
Flagrant violations of fishing ban worry traditional fishermen
Claiming that the Fisheries Department is not fully equipped to crack a whip on boats carrying destructive gear like LEDs and bull trawlers; Fear Goa is heading towards fish extinction
CANSAULIM: Tensions are rising within the traditional fishing community residing on the coast and we can witness flagrant violations with regard to the fishing ban.
The annual 61-day fishing ban which began on June 1 applies to all motorboats and trawlers, but according to ramponnkars the Fisheries Department is not fully equipped to crack a whip on such widespread violations.
Ramponnkars claimed that these boats carried destructive gear like LEDs and bull trawlers and no one was stopping these out of state boats from entering Goa territorial waters as well.
“The fishing ban is supposed to last two months but the first two days there were trawlers leaving Goa piers, be it Cutbona, Vasco or Panjim. Who will act against these boats? The Minister of Fisheries talks about
monitoring these jetties but these trawlers were still venturing out to sea. The department is unable to stop the use of destructive gear during the season and now also during the prohibition period,” said Agnelo Rodrigues, president of Goenchea Ramponnkarancho Ekvott (GRE).
“Even today there are trawlers at sea. The ban applies to the entire west coast, but in Goa there seems to be no fear for the law. This monsoon ban is for the proper spawning of marine species and to allow the regeneration of marine resources during the breeding season. If these trawlers kill all the baby fish now, what fish will there be in the future? The amount of fish is already decreasing,” said Olencio Simoes, general secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF).
“The government needs to start thinking long term. If proper action is not taken today, fishermen in Goa will have to stop going fishing altogether as there will be no more fish in the sea to catch. If this trend continues, Goa will be heading towards fish extinction and will be like other countries where the fishing sector has come to a standstill due to the use of such destructive gears and continued overexploitation of resources fisheries,” said Ramponnkar Camilo Souza.
“What irritates us the most is that we are harassed by coastal police and even the navy who threaten us when we go out to sea during the season. This happens when we do nothing wrong. But it seems that this strict control only concerns us, traditional fishermen, and not the big trawler owners. The Department of Fisheries should cancel the licenses of trawlers who violate the ban on fishing and other orders, “said Joaquim Fernandes, another ramponnkar.
As the Department of Fisheries recently seized three trawlers for violating the fishing ban and for using LED lights, ramponnkars questioned why the department did not carry out a proper check before the fishing ban began. sin ?
“The fact that a trawler was caught with LED lights confirms what we have been saying all this time. They check these boats after they return to the pier. This means that these boats had it before going to sea and the damage was already done. By using LED lights, they are even destroying the breeding grounds of several species of fish and the marine ecology. This destruction is long lasting and extremely harmful,” said a traditional fisherman from Betul.
Incidentally, Betul ramponnkars added that they have threatened to block the movement of those trawler owners who use LED lights if the ban on such equipment is not fully enforced.
These fishermen also feel displaced from their own area from which they have fished for generations, due to the size and number of trawlers at the Cutbona jetty. They are also concerned about the presence of migrant labor in the thousands during the season which they say poses a threat to local residents.
What poses a great threat to the ramponnkars is the presence of large trawlers from Malpe in Maharashtra and Karwar in Karnataka.
Local fishermen from Mobor, Benaulim and Colva ask how it was they who had to alert the coastal police about these boats from outside Goa. They added that in the rare cases where the coastal police caught these boats outside of Goa, they had to be assisted by local fishermen, either providing them with their boats or telling the coastal police the location of these non-Goanese boats.
“It is a complete disgrace that even after local fishermen caught these illegal boats from outside Goa and brought them to the attention of the Department of Fisheries, these boats continue to enter our state without any fear. These are the boats that use illegal fishing gear and carry out illegal trawling in the territorial waters of Goa using high-speed motors,” said Rodrigues of GRE.
“Coastal Police need to get at least 10 more speedboats and adequate machinery to track these boats from outside Goa using satellite imagery. There is also a need for the Goa Fisheries Department to hold meetings with its counterparts in Maharashtra and Karnataka as well. We have heard that our trawlers from Goa also sometimes enter the territorial waters of our neighboring states, which undermines our efforts to prevent the entry of non-Goa boats into our waters,” said said Paul Remedios, a ramponkar.
Simoes accused the Fisheries Department of deliberately being soft on local trawler owners who used high-powered engines and large trawlers that exceeded legal limits and allegedly used illegal gear to catch fish in the waters. territorial state as well as what is known. as an exclusive Indian zone (EEZ).
He pointed out that it hasn’t just happened this season or this year, but for the past five years or so, where trawler owners have engaged in illegal activities, whether it’s bull trawling or as a couple or using LED lighting equipment and showing no fear of the law. Simoes further criticized the state government for not setting a precedent.
Rodrigues added that if no action is taken by the Fisheries Department, disgruntled traditional fishermen will take to the streets to protest as they are the ones suffering and it is their livelihood that could be wiped out in the future.
Fisheries Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar said the state government will keep police personnel at each jetty, which will be under CCTV surveillance. The catches of seized trawlers were also auctioned.