Trawl ban in Kerala to end, IMD alert dampens fishermen’s spirit

Fishermen and fishing boat owners of Kerala are concerned after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned fishermen from foraying into the sea for the next four days commencing from July 31.

Incidentally, the 52-day trawling ban which started on June 9 is to end on the midnight of Sunday, and around 3,600 boats including long liners were planning to venture into the seas.

“The IMD failed to issue properly and timely alert during the Ockhi cyclone leading to the loss of lives of several fishermen. After this, the IMD has been issuing frequent weather warnings leading to a blanket ban on fishing activities,” All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association General Secretary, Joseph Xavier Kalappurackal told IANS.

He said that in 2020 fishermen were allowed to fish only on 53 days and in 2021 only 52 fishing days were made available.

Kalappurackal added that fishermen would go to the sea from Sunday night if the Navy, Coast Guard, and the state fisheries department wouldn’t intervene.

He also said that during the initial days after the trawling ban, fishermen are hopeful of a good catch and that rains would have brought nutrients to the sea attracting a large volume of fish.

“Another major problem encountered by the fishermen in the state is the presence of fibre boats of Tamil Nadu on the Kerala coast. Many of these boats were present in the water during the trawler ban period,” Kalappurackal asserted.

Antony Joseph, a fisherman from Vypeen told IANS that he and his team of seven fishermen have made all preparations and were expecting a good catch from Sunday late night onwards but the warning from the IMD has dampened their spirits. “We don’t know how we will make up the 52-day ban period if we are not allowed to venture into the sea at least from Sunday night onwards.”

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