Maharashtra: Fishermen up in arms against LED-aided fishing; call it 'destructive', 'threat to deep sea marine life'

Irate over the government’s apathy in taking penal action against fishing vessels involved in illegal practices like usage of light-emitting diode (LED) lights, as artificial fish attractors, the fishing community in Uttan near Bhayandar and other coastal areas, have decided to fight a collective battle under the aegis of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti led by Damodar Tandel to end the menace.

Traditional fishermen have been opposing this destructive way of catching fish as usage of LED posed a threat to deep sea marine life. Although a notification aimed at putting an end to this illegal practice was passed in November-2019, the authorities were shying away from taking action against the offenders, despite photographic evidences.

“Just by issuing GR’s won’t solve the purpose. It is equally important for the law enforcing agencies to set up a proper mechanism to punish the violators as they did in Karnataka by registering criminal cases against the erring boat owners and slapping a heavy penalty. We will soon move court against the exploitation” said, working president of the Samiti- Bernard D'mello.

In fishing using lights, fishes are attracted by holding up a light above water or suspending it below water. Fishes are then caught using nets. Apart from cancellation of certificates and licenses, the boats found with LED lights are also liable to seizure, in accordance to punitive provisions in the GR. The LED fishing ban encompasses a radius of 12 nautical miles, which is the boundary of jurisdiction for state.

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