Fishermen take risk of traditional fishing

The ban on fishing has paved way for the traditional fishing which is a risk to life.

The fishermen in the coast utilise the fishing vacation of two months to earn their livelihood as the income they earn during the ten months is not sufficient to run their families during the ban on deep sea fishing.

Traditional fisherman Iythappa Kotian of Pithrodi, who is into business for 35 years, told DH that traditional fishing which is called ‘Nadadoni Meenugarike’, is nothing but playing with life. It is scary to take risk in the rough sea and face cyclones. Sadly, the fishermen have to take risk. The fishermen, who invest nearly Rs 10,000 for trade, return empty-handed almost all days, he said.

The ban is observed every year in both East and West Coasts to allow breeding of fishes following concern over dwindling catch. Though the ban is applicable to all motorised boats,  some traditional fishermen do not follow it as their fibre boats and large-size wooden boats are engaged in fishing for livelihood.

He said that three boats are required. Among them, two small boats are used to carry fishes. One also needs 200 litres of kerosene and 200 litres of petrol and diesel.

The fishermen can expect prawns to get profit and all other fishes are not profitable, he added.
Nearly 200 country crafts and another 200 traditional mechanised fishing boats
are engaged in traditional fishing.

He said about 30 men, who work in the boats, should be paid Rs 200 per day, irrespective of profit and loss. A traditional boat fisherman has to invest nearly Rs 6,000 to 7,000 for paying them. The business is better when compared to the previous years. The fishermen have to earn nearly Rs 40,000 to 50,000 make profits.  The fishermen generally go to sea by availing loan for day-to-day business. However, the fishermen, who fail to earn the expected profits, will have to bear the burden of the loan.

Only for two months
The traditional fishing is limited only for two months and the fishing business will always be dull during heavy rain and the fishermen have to struggle for life. Incidents of boat mishaps have also been reported.

Suresh Kharvi, another fisherman, said that he generally works in fishing boats during the fishing season and depends on traditional fishing during the 61-day ban on deep sea fishing.

“I rarely get sufficient money. Traditional fishing is an alternative profession instead of sitting idle at home during the ban period.  If 300-400 boats venture into sea, hardly 20-30 boats will get the profit. But fishermen take risk,” he added.
 

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