Mangaluru 29 July 2016: From 01 Aug 2016 onwards, the fishing by mechanised trawlers and boats will commence, if there is no extension in the ban period by the Government of India.
Fishing is a very important occupation for the maritime State of Karnataka. It is a fact that the fish is the cheapest source of protein available for the human diet. Fishing occupation is also an important generator of employment as well as foreign exchange earner through exports.
Karnataka has about 5.93 lakh hectare of inland water resources, 8000 hectare of brackish water and 320 km of coastline with 27,000 Sq. km of continental shelf. The State has 17,927 fishing boats & trawlers and 3.28 lakh people are employed in the fishing industry. Karnataka has sixth position in marine fish production in India with fish production of 5.55 lakh tonnes (approximately) every year. Almost all the towns and villages situated along the sea coast are engaged in fishing.
Every year, ban on fishing is imposed on both West as well as East coast of India. On the West coast, the fishing ban is culminating on 31 Jul 2016. During the ban period, all the mechanised boats and craft fitted with engine above 10 HP are not permitted to venture out for the fishing.
Deputy Inspector General KR Suresh, TM, the Commander, Coast Guard Karnataka chaired a meeting at Panambur ICG Headquarters and took stock of the preparedness of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) units including Maritime Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Mangalore for attending to the maritime Search and Rescue requirements of the fishermen.
The Commander expressed satisfaction and thanked the State Fisheries Department as well as the fishing community for adhering to the ICG advice of maritime safety and security. He urged the fishing community to follow the safety procedures while operating at sea. Post the break monsoon, monsoon is still vigorous and sea conditions are rough. Any negligence can lead to loss of life and property at sea. In this regard, special Community Interaction programmes with fishing community are being organised to sensitise the need of safety and security for the fishermen. The District Administration of the coastal districts will be approached for the timely sensitisation programmes.
The fishermen are advised to undertake seaworthiness checks of their boats in a systematic manner. They should check weather forecasts, carry DATs (Distress Alerting Transmitters), radio communication equipment (VHF), life saving appliances, documents of boats and Biometric identity cards, additional mobile phones/batteries, temporary repair kits, first aid kit, extra fuel and ration, flashlights with additional batteries and necessary medicines while venturing into sea for the fishing. Defective boats should not venture to the sea. Only authorised personnel should be carried onboard. Children below 14 yrs are not permitted to be employed for fishing at sea. In addition, the fishing boats should operate in pairs or groups.
Coast Guard Karnataka has also requested all the merchant ships and Dhows to follow the laid down Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs). The masters of the merchant vessels should ensure sea worthiness of their vessels. They should also ensure even loading and proper securing of the cargo. Frequent rounds of the ships should be undertaken. Maintenance and upkeep of the machinery and propulsion systems should be undertaken as per schedule. The second anchor and chain cable should be kept standby in case of the merchant vessels at anchorage.
All the water sports operators should also take precautions while operating leisure craft by keeping the sea conditions in mind. The number of tourists should be kept on the craft as per the laid down limit and there should be no overloading.
Besides ships, the ICG has been operating Dornier aircraft equipped for swift response to maritime Search and Rescue, pollution and maritime reconnaissance capabilities for the coastal security of the State of Karnataka.
The assistance from Indian Coast Guard can be sought round the clock on toll free number - 1554. The following numbers may also be contacted in case of emergency: Police - 100, Coast Guard - 0824-2405269/2405270 and Ambulance - 108. VHF channel 16 can also be utilised for reporting the emergency situation on the boats. In case of distress, details like GPS position, type of emergency, colour of boat and number of crew including photograph should be forwarded for timely assistance.
Deputy Inspector General KR Suresh, TM also appraised about the institution of awards and trophies for the fishermen. The awards will be given as per the recommendations of State Fisheries Department to the fishermen who have helped during distress or provided information about any unlawful event or activity noticed at sea.