Boat operators allege illegal fishing during ban period

Mechanized fishing boat operators, who have been barred from launching fishing operations during the 52-day trawling ban during the rainy season, have alleged continuation of illegal fishing activities along the Kerala coast.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurakkal of the Kerala State Fishing Boat Operators Association alleged that pair trawling and double boat trawling, which is banned during monsoon, is being adopted by groups of fishermen to catch shrimp. He alleged that most of the fish caught are juveniles, including commercially important species such as shrimp and silver pomfret.

Mr. Kalapurakkal said that while mechanized boat owners are prevented from venturing into fishing for conservation purposes, the damage is done by another group, engaged in destructive practices.

He also alleged that fiber boats have recently landed in Kochi species like threadfin bream and lizardfish, which are usually caught by trawlers. He claimed that this is also a case of violation of the ban.

This year the annual trolling ban is for a period of 52 days between June 10 and July 31. The annual ban on fishing by mechanized boats during monsoon has been in place for more than three decades with the objective of conservation and sustainability of commercially important species such as oil sardines. The rainy season is considered the breeding season.

The ban is applicable to around 3,800 trawlers and around 500 gillnet and purse seine boats operating off the Kerala coast. Fishing boat operators from neighboring states have been asked to leave the Kerala coast during the ban period.