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India’s Tuna Fishing Ban Comes Into Force India, April 17, 13

Fishermen in the East Coast to use this period for overhauling boats

Mechanized boats anchored at Tuticorin fishing harbor on Monday
The 45-day annual fishing ban has been in force along the East Coast of Tamil Nadu from Monday.

This total fishing ban is to facilitate the breeding of tuna and other fish and to conserve fish stock in the marine ecology. From India’s Southern East Coast a large fleet of small vessels operate which target with drifnets skipjack tuna and many other ocean species. The tuna is often exported to countries like Iran and Tunesia.

The enforcement of the ban will remain in effect until May 29. Fishermen have been instructed not to venture out to sea so as to avoid disturbances caused by trawlers during the breeding season.

During the ban period, nets will be mended and overhauling works taken up in over 250 boats anchored at the fishing harbor.

S. Xavier Vas, president, Tuticorin Mechanized Boat Owners Association, said maintenance works on engines and painting of vessels would be carried out.

Boat owners on an average would incur an expenditure of Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh during this lean period.

D. Jesu, a fisherman from Boopalarayerpuram, said the enhanced ban period relief of Rs. 2,000 should be provided within the period as the fishermen had no alternative source of livelihood.

He also sought the intervention of enforcement agencies to prevent any fishing vessel from trespassing into the Tuticorin coast if the ban had to be effective.

However, country boats would continue their fishing operations during this period, sources said.

Recently the Indian government started to stimulate fishermen switching to tuna long lining by providing a 50 per cent subsidy for converting the boats for tuna fishing. This is seen by some as a welcome move, but still the fishermen needed to be motivated to take it up.