“Fishermen have been urging the state government to reschedule the ban period from October to December because during that time fishing would be a tough task. On the contrary, the state government is adamant and does not heed our demands,” Nanjil P Ravi, National Executive president, All India Fishermen Association, told DT Next.
The concept of fishing ban period was introduced in 2001 to restrict fishermen from entering the sea to enable reproduction of marine species and to increase the marine resources. Initially, the ban period for east coast states was fixed from April 15 to May 30 and for west coast from June 1 to July 14.
Subsequently, the fishing ban period was increased from 45 days to 61 days for both the coasts. For the current year, the ban period is set to commence from Wednesday night. During this period, mechanised boats with an engine capacity of over 28 horsepower would not be permitted and fibre boats alone would be allowed into sea.
However, fishermen in Tamil Nadu complain that the ban period was unfair to east coast fishermen when compared to western coast. “For western coast fishermen the ban period coincides with the southwest monsoon season and they fish in the remaining 9 or 10 months without any hassle. But, fishermen in eastern coast cannot undertake fishing for two months of ban period and during the northeast monsoon season,” pointed out K Bharathi, president, South Indian Welfare Association.
Fishermen also urge the state to carry out a scientific study about the reproduction of marine species.
When asked about the demands, an official attached to Fisheries Department, on request of anonymity, said that the decision to reschedule the fishing ban period has to be taken by all the other coastal states in the east together and the proposal has to be sent to Centre. However, the final decision would be taken by the Centre.