Annual Fishing Ban Didn’t Help Us Get Good Catches, Nagai Street Boat Owners, Fishermen – The New Indian Express
Express press service
NAGAPATTINAM: Excitement for the fishing season following the annual two-month ban is on the
decline as mechanized boat fishermen in the coastal districts of the delta struggled to make a good catch. Returning to sea on June 15, fishermen said they had been able to fill only 25-50% of the holds’ total capacity on each trip since then.
Fishermen and boat owners have expressed disappointment at the annual ban on not helping them get a good catch. Fishermen cite several reasons for the low income from the sea, including overexploitation of marine resources and motorized fishing boats using the closed season.
C Ravi from Vanagiri, owner of a gillnet fishing boat, said: “Our financial loss has increased year by year. Inflation and the increase in the price of fuel, ice, other inputs and labor cost added to the loss.I invested around 3 lakh for the first 10 days of sailing this season.The fishermen came back with a catch of around 2.5 lakh which caused me a loss of about 16%.Now I have to pay my workers out of my own pocket.
According to sources, a boat owner spends around 50,000 to 4,000,000 for a single fishing trip. The cost of fuel is around £50,000 per day, and the labor charge for loading fuel can be as high as £1,000. Moreover, a boat owner spends about 25% of the earned amount to pay fishermen.
Although there is a high demand for good quality seafood overseas, fishermen are upset that their trips are not productive.
RMP Rajendra Nattar, a representative of fishermen from Nagapattinam, said: “Twenty years ago, the price to buy one kg of prawns was around 350. Today the price remains almost the same. Similarly, the price of other fish with export value in the market remained the same. So the fishermen don’t make much profit.”
Shocked by the loss, boat owners have urged authorities to move the annual no-fishing period from the summer season to the monsoon.
Pazhaiyar trawler owner K Arutchezhiyan said: “Every year my shipping after the blackout period has not been satisfactory. I am investing around £50,000 a day to sail this year. In return, I only get £35,000 worth of jacks.”
However, experts have argued that summer is the best season for fish breeding. Dr S Velvizhi, coordinator of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation Fish for All Center in Poompuhar, said: “There are many species of fish that breed in the summer, and some breed in the monsoon. A complete change in timing could affect reproduction.”