Use of lights, unscientific fishing: Curb demanded

Fishermen interact with Fisheries Department Deputy Director Chikkaveera Nayak during a protest in Mangaluru on Tuesday.

The use of LED lights for fishing has triggered an intense conflict among the traditional fishermen and purse seine fishermen in coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

Fishermen staged a protest against the use of lights for fishing, in front of Fisheries Department deputy Director’s office at Bunder, in Mangaluru, on Tuesday.

Addressing the protesters, Dakshina Kannada District Gillnet Fishermen Association President Ali Hasan said that the use of lights by purse seine boats is one the prime reasons for the decline in fish stocks especially fingerlings of several important species.

Decline in stock

Powered by generators, the lights attract fish including fingerlings for a distance of one kilometre. They are then scooped up in bulk by the purse seine fishermen, which result in a decline in fish stocks.

“The traditional fishermen are the worst-affected and are likely to come to the streets without any sort of employment if the use of lights for fishing continues. Such unscientific fishing method should be curtailed,” demanded Hasan.

The president said the practice of bull trawling also results in the destruction of fishes. A time will arise when the traditional fishermen may have to quit their profession of fishing, Hasan warned.

The fishermen also demanded strict action against seven purse seine boats that had flouted the rules and carried out fishing using lights as per the Central government’s order on the ban of the use of lights.

The activities harmful to the fish should not be carried out. There are 1,200 trawl boats, more than 1,000 traditional fishermen in Mangaluru. It is not right on the part of purse seine boats to carry out fishing using lights. The Centre had banned fishing using lights, said the fishermen.

Fisheries Department Deputy Director Chikkaveera Nayak said, “The department and officials functions as per the directions of the court. The High Court in its order dated January 21, had issued permission for the use of lights for fishing after laying down a few conditions. The Fisheries Department director is holding consultations with the legal department head in this regard.”

Meeting

Trawl Boat Fishermen Association General Secretary Rajesh Puthran said, “The Trawl Boat fishermen association office bearers have already discussed the issue. A team has been constituted for a legal fight. The AGM will be held on January 30 and it will take a final decision. Seven Purse Seine boat that left for fishing to carry out fishing using lights, of which, two boats have returned and the remaining are expected to return shortly.”

Fishermen from Dakshina Kannada Karavali Moola Meenugarara Sangha, Fresh Fish Merchants' Association, Trawl Boat Committee and traditional fishermen participated in the protest.

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Use of lights, unscientific fishing: Curb demanded

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