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Trawling pressure along Kerala, Karnataka coasts high: study

Written by: Staff

Kochi, Jul 7 (UNI) The fishing pressure from trawlers along Kerala and Karnataka is very high and most of the resources were being exploited above the optimum level, according to a major study conducted over a period of three years along the coasts of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The findings of the study, which was funded by the Ocean Science and Technology Cell (OSTC) of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) and conducted by five different scientific organisations in the country, were presented at a workshop on the 'Impact of Bottom Trawling on Benthic Communities' here today.

Clearly pointing to a negative impact of trawling on the biodiversity and taxonomic diversity of the benthic organisms, the study said that the impingement may be directly related to mechanical impact on the biota or indirect impact such as habitat destruction or degradation of the community.

The fishery resources in the territorial waters being a state subject, there was no coordination among the different maritime states in conservation actions and the ban period on trawling.

''This leads to competition between the fishermen of neighbouring states and thereby leads to failure of conservation measures,'' it added.

The research work for the study was conducted in Karwar and Mangalore in Karnataka by Dr U G Bhat of Karnataka University, Dr P U Zacharia of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and Dr Gangadhara Gowda of the College of Fisheries, Mangalore.

In Kerala it was done by Dr B Madhusoodana Kurup of CUSAT and in Andhra Pradesh by Dr A V Raman of Andhra University.

Data on fishery resources was collected from important landing sites of the various states and also by on-board participation in single day trawlers over a period of two years from 2001. This was followed by experimental trawling at five depths between 10 and 50 meters in the commercial fishing zones for a period of one year.

Among the major findings of the study, it was found that on an annual basis, a considerable quantity of marine life was thrown back into the sea as ''discards'' due to their non-edible nature, wrong species and size and low market value.

It was also found that immense quantities of eggs and juveniles of commercially important fin and shellfish were destroyed as a result of bottom trawling.

Also, dissolved oxygen showed significant reduction after trawling, it said.

It found that while an area of 30 meters between Kollemoode to Paravoor and upto 20 meters from Paravoor to Maneswar were earmarked exclusively for artisanal fishermen, there was infringement by the trawlers into these areas.

The workshop on ''Impact of Bottom Trawling on Benthic Communities'' was conducted by OSTC with the support of the Central Government's Department of Ocean Development.


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