Udupi, June 7, 2016: Fishermen are facing space crunch for anchoring boats at Malpe port as the two-month ban on deep sea fishing has come into effect. The fishing boats and trawlers are in a log jam for space at the port.
A Fisherman told this news service that they face serious shortage of space for all monsoon activities essential to maintaining the boats. Anchoring the boats at the port is a vital need and the difficulties are enormous, space is sufficient only to 700 to 800 boats. But 2,000 boats and many trawlers are anchored at the port. The boats collide with each other due to the space constraint in strong winds. This causes a major damage to the boats.
The fishermen said regular de-silting in the port could allow them to anchor more boats. Also, a proper breakwater, the artificial offshore structure protecting a harbour, should be built for the purpose. The colour coding of boats ends in harassment and fishermen quarrel with each other sometimes. So, the colour coding should be unform all over the coasts in the country, they added.
Gopal said fishermen will be jobless for two months during deep sea fishing ban and they look for alternative employment. The price of fish has also become expensive as a number of fishing boats come to Malpe for business. Mangaluru and Malpe port are two major ports in the coast, he added.
"Most of the fishermen work as labourers in fishing boats. Whatever we earn while fishing, we have to spend it for day-to-day expenses of their families. Hence, we don’t have any savings. During this two-month break, we find some other jobs for livelihood," he said. Some fishermen in country craft for fishing, which is permitted during monsoon. He urged the government to implement steps to provide work to fishermen on all days in the year.
"Our youths are moving away from the occupation due to uncertain future," he said.
Fish catch : The annual fish catch in Udupi district in 2015-16 was 1,51,020 tonnes. The produce was worth Rs 1,455.96 crore. In 2014, the fish catch was 1,43,480 tonnes worth Rs 1140.35 crore. There are 87 purseine boats, 1,601 trawl boats and 1,865 mechanised gillnet boats in the district.