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Illegal Purse Seiners In India Estimated At 600 India, August 6, 12

Fishermen’s unions have raised a stink over the illegal use of purse seine (large circular) fishing nets by trawlers along the state coast. In Sassoon dock, only 159 fishermen have been given permission to use such nets, but around 600 fishermen use these nets illegally. The fishing community believes this has drastically hampered their fish catch.

A delegation of fishermen, led by their union Akhil Maharashtra Machimaar Kriti Samiti, met deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and home minister RR Patil at the Mantralaya last week seeking a ban on purse seine nets.

Purse seine nets can be spread over a 3-km radius, capturing a large number of fish at one time, leaving no catch for smaller fishermen. They target, tuna, sardines and mackerel, but also generate a lot of by-catch of other often unreported species.

“We are left with nothing. Earlier there were around 125 fish species at the shore, now there are only 80. If this continues, marine life will be wiped out in 15 years. The ministers told us these nets from 600 small purse seiners or trawlers at Sassoon Dock would be seized and a criminal case would be registered,” says Damodar Tandel, president of Akhil Maharashtra Machimaar Kriti Samiti.