Though fishing boat operators claim immunity from penalty for “accidental catch” of juvenile fish citing the outcome of a discussion their association had with the government last month, the Fisheries Department is going ahead with their preventive measures.
T.M. Mariam Hazeena, Deputy Director of Fisheries, said the department had not received any instruction to go slow as claimed by the boat owners. “We will go ahead with the impounding actions and the adjudication process for preventing juvenile fishing,”she said.
On Monday, a boat from Beypore was seized with around 650 kg of juvenile fish. The case will be adjudicated at the Fisheries Deputy Director’s Office on Thursday, she said. The enforcement squad had found several hidden boxes filled with juvenile fish. They had also impounded the edible stock, which was auctioned for ₹50,000 on Tuesday.
Boat operators’ stance
Flaying the department’s action, the All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association said the enforcement squad was defying the government direction to stop all penalising actions till the proper availability of 35-mm diamond mesh net in the market that could reduce the catch of juvenile fish. They also claimed that the lack of diamond mesh, certified by the competent agencies, was compelling them to use the conventional square mesh.
“The department is well-aware of the boat operators’ dilemma in this area, but they are deliberately provoking the community to get cheap popularity. We will soon form a State-level coordination committee of the boat owners to come back with a stronger agitation,” said Joseph Xavier, general secretary of the association.