In what is bound to rile up the trawler and other boat operators in the State, the traditional fishermen and canoe operators from Mormugao have demanded a three-month fishing ban for trawlers and motorised boats as well as action against trawlers arriving from other states to fish in Goan waters.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, the Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE) and other traditional fishermen bodies said the two-month fishing ban was not meant for canoes, who have court permission to fish throughout the year.
"The monsoon ban has not been properly implemented in the last few years and some boats venture in the sea despite the prohibition. We demand that the fisheries department immediately get all trawlers presently in the sea to the jetties,” said GRE General Secretary Olencio Simoes.
“We have seen banned fishing gears in use and we have noticed boats from other states fish in Goan waters. Despite us catching these boats and handing them to the fisheries department, they have let them go, indicating that the fisheries department has some nexus in this issue.”
“We will be forced to sink these outside boats in the sea if the fisheries department does not act against them,” warned Simoes.
Simoes also demanded that the fishing ban be implemented for three months instead of two months.
“The fish yield is going down on the one side and this is finishing us, while on the other side, mega projects in the coastal area are displacing us," said Simoes.
He claimed that canoe owners using one 9.9 HP motor can fish anytime as per permissions granted by Supreme Court and as such, the fishing ban does not apply to canoe owners.
“Canoe owners can use small gill nets and fish and this is the only time they can earn because the trawler and boat owners, despite a ban, fish in water within the 5 km radius near the shore," said Simoes.
Custodio D'Souza, President of Old Cross Canoe Owners Cooperative Society, said the fishing ban is necessary to increase the yield of the fish.
"This fishing ban is not meant for traditional fishermen but for trawler owners or boats using two or three motors or mini purse seine boats. The fishing ban period helps increase the fish quantity and also offers a rest period for fishing boat workers arriving in Goa from other states,” said D’Souza.
“We start fishing using Kantalem nets in the ban period and we get fresh fish during this time. We also urge the government to keep a thorough check on fish brought in by interstate agents and sold in markets like Margao at this time because they could be laced with formalin. We urge Goans to consume fish caught by traditional fishermen in different parts of Goa during the fishing ban period," said D'Souza.