MADURAI: The East coast is buzzing with activities with the annual 61-day fishing ban coming to an end on Wednesday. Fishermen in coastal districts of the state and Puducherry gear up to resume their normal routine at seas from Wednesday morning. Boat jetties and fish landings are abuzz as fishermen and boat owners are back in action, sources said.
According to P Jesuraja, president, Ramanathapuram District All Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association, almost all fishermen and other labourers, who waited for two months for the lifting of the annual ban, have rejoined and resumed fishing well in advance. Almost 90 per cent of the fleet set out to sea off Rameswaram, Mandapam, Pamban and Thondi. The essential commodities including diesel, ice bars and salt-bags were hauled into boats, which remain anchored and primed for another season. About 10 to 20 ice bars were carried in every mechanised boat, with each weighing 50 kg. More importantly, a boat consumes about four to six barrels of diesel from a minimum of 500 litres to the maximum of thousand litres, depending on the length and size of boats.
Unlike other coastal districts, fishermen off Ramanathapuram coast largely rely on export value fish varieties such as shrimp and cuttlefish as the coast was blessed abundantly with specific fishing grounds. Only during January, the fishermen would go fishing for other varieties. The district has a fleet of around 1,500 boats, including 650 in Rameswaram, Jesuraja said on Tuesday.
RJ Bosco, treasurer, All Mechanized Boat Owners Association, Thoothukudi, said fishing resumes from Wednesday morning after a gap of five months in the district since the routine at sea came to a halt since February owing to dredging works in shore waters of Thoothukudi fishing harbour.
Dharmapitchai, president, Thoothukudi Fishermen Association, lamented over delay in payments of ban period assistance to the fishermen. Even after the ban is lifted, still many fishermen are not in receipt of such assistance. He also demanded timely action to prevent Kerala fishermen from fishing in Thoothukudi waters while the local fishermen were restricted from fishing during the ban period and also urged the need to expedite dredging works.