The heavy rain predicted in Tamil Nadu by the Indian Meteorological Department due to an unexpected weather movement from March 3-6 has impacted the fishermen community in large numbers.
The fishing ban in the state for large vessels and fishing trawlers will be enforced from April 15 for a period of two months and all fishing vessels, including deep sea trawlers, do maximum business during March.
The trawlers and deep sea fishing boats have been asked to stay at harbours such as Nagapattinam, Poompuhar, Karaikal and Pazhayaiar from March 3-6.
K. Sukanakanthan, a boat owner from Ramanathapuram, told IANS, “We are to follow a fishing ban for two months from April 15 onwards. No deep sea fishing and trawlers are allowed to fish during this time. The only season for us to get some good catch and thereby money is the present month of March and every day is important for us. This unexpected fishing ban due to a sudden weather forecast will create holes in our pockets.”
The fishing ban has also affected the lives of ordinary fishermen who generally fish near Palk Strait.
R.M. Akhil Pandiyan of Ramanathapuram, who is a traditional fisherman, told IANS, “We (fishermen) have faced the brunt of the attacks from the Sri Lankan Navy while fishing near Katchatheevu and were subjected to stone-pelting. If someone accidentally crosses the international maritime boundary line, he will be arrested and sent to jail.”
“We could not fish for several days and now when we are somehow managing to fish, the order banning it due to the sudden weather forecast will put us in great difficulty. The season was good and we were getting a good catch of Mackeral fishes and this sudden ban for four days will lead to heavy losses for ordinary fishermen like us,” he said.
The fishermen said they are getting a good catch of both Mackeral and Sardine fishes during this time but halting fishing for four days will break the cycle of fishing.
With the unseasonal rain causing panic in the coastal areas, the government has directed the state disaster management and revenue departments to have a dialogue with the leaders of the fishermen community.