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Malpe fishermen disappointed over 'poor' catch

Written by: Staff

Malpe, Karnataka, Mar 30 (UNI) The current fishing season, like the previous year, has failed to bring cheers to the fisherfolks of this biggest fishing harbour in Karnataka.

Though the total catch till February-end at the port was four MT more than the corresponding period last year, the money-yielding varieties fared poorly, resulting in revenue loss to the community.

Talking to UNI here today, Mr Keshav Kotian, the President of Malpe Fishermen Association and Vice-President of the Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee, a confederation of 57 fishermen organisations of coastal Karnataka, said though sufficient quantity of local varieties like sardine, squid and cuttle fish was caught, the catch of export quality fish like ribbon fish, pink perch, prawns and mackerels were decreasing year after year.

Attributing the poor catch of export quality fish to deep sea fishing by foreign vessels, he said the foreign vessels were minting money by illegally fishing in deep sea along the Indian coast.

Despite several demands by various fishermen organisations, the Centre had not strictly banned entry of foreign vessels into the Indian coast for deep sea fishing.

Besides, the number of fishing boats had been increasing in recent years, Mr Kotian said, adding that the fisherfolks suffered severely during the fish breeding season.

Compounding their problems was the fact that some agents brought fishermen from Tamil Nadu to fish here as opposed to the traditional fishing activity at Malpe, Mangalore, Gangolli and other areas.

However, like any other fisherman, Mr Kotian remained optimistic that the situation would improve before the season ended in June.

Meanwhile, Malpe Fishing Harbour Assistant Director K Krishnaraja Puranik told UNI that though the total catch till February was 44,106 MT, which exceeded the previous year's comparable figures by over four MT, in terms of value it was Rs 61.32 crore as against Rs 69.51 crore for the same period last year. While the catch for the entire season of 2003-04 was 66,230 MT valued at Rs 72 crore, it was only 35,000 MT worth Rs 36 crore in 2002-03 due to fish famine.

The number of fishing boats at the harbour had increased to 1,148, including 180 small trawlers, 380 deep sea trawlers and 430 outboard engine fitted country crafts, he said.


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