Hostile weather and diesel price crushing fishemen’s life


Team Udayavani, Oct 5, 2018, 5:10 PM IST

Mangaluru: In the backdrop of about half of the mechanized fishing boats returning back to port due to the rise in the diesel prices, now the hostile weather has only sprinkled salt on their already open wounds. With the possibility of a cyclone due to the fall in air pressure in the Arabian Sea, the fishing boats are forced the return to their respective ports. Close to 70% of mechanized boats from Mangaluru and 80% mechanized boats from Malpe and Gangolli have returned back to their respective ports.

Coast Guard Warning

With the fall in the air pressure, the waves in the sea have turned violent and the boats that are already in the sea have been advised to return to the port immediately. Amidst this, the Coast Guard staff is sending the boats back to the port and they are also taking action to prevent any ship from entering into the area facing the drop in air pressure.

Extensive loss

Even though the fishermen sail out to fish, they are not getting a good catch. If a few boats do end up with a small catch, the other few boats return back empty handed. Under normal conditions, if the boats ventured out into the sea, an estimated income of Rs 4.50 lakh used to be earned. But this time, in 10 days the income was a mere Rs 70,000 while the diesel spent was to almost Rs 3 lakh, lament the Maple boat owners.

Boats remain ashore

This time, there was good rain in the months of July and August. Besides that, 3-4 times there were cyclones in the sea. Normally, after a cyclone there is a good catch of fish. But this time, even though it was the harvest season, there is a lack of fish. There are almost 1,420 traditional boats equipped with motors and about 1,234 mechanized boats at Mangaluru port. At Malpe port, there are 700 traditional boats, 2,200 big boats equipped with motors and including the trawlers and boats at Gangolli, there are more than 3,700 boats. Most of these boats have remained ashore.

Fishermen in misery

The fishermen who are already plagued with the rise in diesel prices, hostile weather and fish famine have further receded into misery due to the cyclone.  Already the fishermen are in difficulty. The government needs to respond to the distress of the fishermen, requests Rajaratna Sanil, owner of a fishing boat.

Reasons behind the non-availability of fish?

Due to the frequent change in weather, the fishes are not coming up. The fall in the amount of fish with the passage of time is also the reason for the lack of fish. Following the spawning season, the fingerlings venture out from the deep sea. Due to the use of nets with smaller gaps, these fingerlings are trapped and end up dead. This also leads to the drop in the fish offspring, thereby the general population, observe the experts.

No profit; only loss

“Though fishing started from August, it was not possible due to the violent seas. Later also, there was no much income. In the last 10 days, all boats are incurring a loss of Rs 50,000 per trip. It is almost as if one will return only in loss if one ventures out to fish,” says Anil, leader of the fishermen, Mangaluru.

“The direct effect of the fall in air pressure is on fishermen. The fishing boats which are already in loss are now only getting more terrified. Already close to 70% of the boats are ashore. When close to 800 boats come ashore at the same time, there is also the problem of docking the boats within limited space,” says Nithin Kumar, President of Mangaluru Trawl Boat Fishermen Association.

“In the earlier years, by Sept. 25th, boats would have already finished 8-9 trips. Due to this, there was an income of Rs 35-40 lakh. Though mechanized fishing has begun since August 1st, only 3-4 trips have occurred so far. Every single boat has not had a minimum income of even Rs 10 lakh,” informs Satish Kunder, President of Malpe Fishemen’s Association.

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