Fresh fishing season commences with new hope;  a few boats enjoy decent prawn catches on day one

Fresh fishing season commences with new hope; a few boats enjoy decent prawn catches on day one

After the 61-day-long annual fishing ban, more than 50% of the mechanized boats of the district resumed fishing on Wednesday with the new hope of getting good harvest during this season.

While 264 mechanised boats, all being operated from the Thoothkudi Fishing Harbor and involved in ‘day fishing’, should leave the harbor at 5 am and return to the base before 9 pm considering the safety of country boat fishermen, the 226 boats having Tharuvaikulam Fish Landing Center as its base are involved in multiday deep sea fishing and these boats would be on high seas for about two weeks ;.and even more for fishing. Vembar, another coastal village near the border of Thoothkudi – Ramanathapuram districts, has 48 boats.

As the 61-day mandatory annual ban ended on Wednesday, 126 boats from Thoothukudi Fishing Harbor ventured into the sea for fishing and 94 boats from Tharuvaikulam left their base for deep sea fishing. In Vembar, 40 of the 48 boats resumed fishing on Wednesday.

“At a time when we strictly followed the annual fishing ban in the east coast, mechanized boats from Kerala entered our area for fishing, which is illegal. However, the Fisheries Department officials failed to stop this illegal activity by detaining the boats that violated the ban. We don’t know what is there in high seas for us after the Kerala boats poached continuously in our area. Still, with the hope of getting good harvest, we’ve resumed the fishing operations of the new season,” said Dharma Pitchai, president of Thoothukudi Fishing Harbor Fishermen Association.

While the mechanized boats that ventured towards the southern side like Manappad and beyond on the first day after the ban had premium variety fishes like barracuda besides Indian Mackeral (ayalai) and cod (pannaa), the vessels traveled towards north towards the Ervadi ‘madai’ harvested decent quantity of prawn and other fishes.

“Every mechanized boat owner has to spend around Rs. 2.10 lakh per boat everyday towards diesel, ice, grocery items (for cooking for a minimum of 17 persons per boat) and the daily ‘bata’ for them. So, what we can get more than this amount will be the profit or savings. If the catch we get is less than Rs. 2.10 lakh a day, it will be loss to the owner. So, the fishing duration should be increased from the 5 am to 9 pm format,” says K. Johnson, a boat owner, who has to spend Rs. 6.30 lakh a day if he has to send all his 3 boats for fishing.

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