Finally, there’s a ray of hope for the fishing community who have been helplessly witnessing the use of unauthorised methods by a large number of fishing vessels in the Arabian Sea for the past several years.
Fisheries department asked coast guards not to take action
In a significant move, the state fisheries department has asked the coast guards to take action in order to prevent the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lights for fishing in state territorial waters beyond 12 nautical miles and up to 200 nautical miles. A government resolution (GR) passed in November-2017 prohibits the use of surface/ submerged artificial lights like LED, purse-seining, and gill netting operations on mechanised fishing vessels or motorized fishing crafts in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
However, the illegal fishing continues with brazen impunity. Traditional fishermen have been opposing this type of illegal fishing which not only affects their livelihood but also has an adverse effect on the marine environment, thus posing a serious threat to the fish stock in the deep sea.
Licenses and certificates to be cancelled
“We have been regularly taking up the issue with the fisheries department. Hope that the concerned agency sets up a proper mechanism to implement the orders and punish the violators,” said Bernard D'mello who is a former municipal corporator and also the working president of Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti.
Apart from cancellation of certificates and licenses, the boats found with LED lights are also liable to seizures, officials said. In fishing using lights, fishes are attracted by holding up a light above water or suspending it below water. Fishes are then caught using purse-seining nets. The fishing villages of Uttan, Pali, Dongri, Bhatte Bunder and Chowk house around 750 fishing boats in the region.
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