Mangaluru, Sep 26, 2017: Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Mangaluru, has recommended to the State government to reduce the number of fishing vessels in the State’s coast to a very significant level.
New vessels can be permitted only as replacement for existing vessels which complete their life cycle. In its Marine Fisheries Policy Series No. 5, CMFRI has said that according to its analysis, there is overcapacity in the fishing fleets in the State.
There is an urgent need to reduce the existing fleet sizes in a phased manner, the institute has said. Strict registration of fishing vessels with a validity period of 10 years, extendable further up to two years if the craft is seaworthy, should be continued. The government should encourage diversifying fishing activity to offshore/ oceanic regions with highly selective gears to prevent unhealthy competition and social issues.
The institute said the government should explore buy-back of registration/ licences to reduce overcapacity even as strict monitoring should be there over boat-building yards.
Mesh size regulation for nets : CMFRI said mesh regulations should strictly be implemented and monitored. The cod end [the narrow end of a tapered trawl net] mesh size of trawl nets and mesh size of other major gears used should follow the mesh size regulations.
Manufacture of net panes below the mesh size for cod end of trawl nets should be banned, the institute has said.
It also said catch monitoring should be made more reliable under the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) by taking the scientifically collected catch and effort data of CMFRI. Surveillance should be effected through implementing satellite-based Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS).
While catfish that had been a major fishery in the State collapsed owing to over-fishing, it is showing signs of recovery now.
The government should enforce a moratorium of five years on fishing catfish by purse seiners, CMFRI has said.
Proliferation of light-based fishing (LED fishing) should be implemented, it noted.
Airing concern over proliferation of fish meal and oil plants in the State, CMFRI said it is leading to excessive exploitation of juvenile fish and live stock breed.
They should be immediately brought under control and new plants should be discouraged. CMFRI recommended the coral reef area (10 sq km) surrounding Netrani islands near Murdeshwar be converted a “fish refugia” to allow fish breeding and protection of coral reefs and reef inhabiting fishes.