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India: “Identify Illegal Tuna Purse Seiners” India, July 25, 12

Traditional fishermen on Saturday demanded that the State Fisheries Department immediately undertake a study to not only find the carrying capacity of the Goan coast for fishing vessels it can sustain but also to identify the illegal fishing vessels plying in the sea.

Agnelo Rodrigues, president of Goemchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE), body spearheading the cause of traditional fishermen, lambasted the president of Cutbona Boat Owners’ Association Patric D’Silva and accused him of only paying lip service to the concern of depleting marine resources off Goan coast.

Mr. Rodrigues asserted that if the owners of trawlers and purseiners had to follow the rules of the land in letter and spirit, Goa would not be facing a fish famine that now appears imminent. He said ramponkars were willing to keep off the seas provided the fishing ban period was for 90 days and not at the whims and fancies of the more powerful trawler and purse seine owners’ lobby.

Mr. Rodrigues pointed out that the trawlers and purseiners blatantly violate all the rules and laws including the one on ban on fishing by them during monsoon.

He also pointed out that these vessels most often fish in areas prohibited for them.

“Let the trawlers and purseiners fish beyond five nautical miles first prove their commitment and only then we shall be able to take them seriously,” said Mr. Rodrigues. He also accused the members of Cutbona Boat Owners Association of indulging in illegal activities by constructing vessels that are more than 60-feet long and claiming subsidy from the government for them when the subsidy is meant for vessels of less than 60 feet in length.