Wednesday 18 September 2019

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Economy | Fishing

Fishing still continues ?

 

Twenty days have passed for the ban imposed by the high court on fishing by the mechanised boats in Goa, but it still continues in spite of the fresh court order issued last week cancelling licences of all the trawlers.

Chief minister Francisco Sardinha has also flatly rejected the demand of over 1500 trawler owners to issue an ordinance after the governor refused to sign the bill, passed unanimously by the House to limit the ban period only up to 24 July.

But the state authorities appear to have still not taken seriously the court order, as a result of which trawlers are reportedly entering the sea without licence and unloading the fish elsewhere as all the seven jetties have been stopped from using for fishing activity.

The issue had arisen after the high court, acting on a public interest litigation, had passed an interim order on 20 July, extending the ban on fishing activity till 15 August. The National Institute of Oceanography had however recommended the ban till 31 August, in order to allow breeding and spawning period for various species of the fish.

As the government did not implement the ban for around two weeks, in response to a contempt petition filed last week, the court had once again passed another order cancelling licences of all the trawlers and not permitting them to use the jetties for fishing activity.

Acting on the court order, the fishing department had also sealed the diesel pumps at the jetties while posting personnel at the jetties to monitor the trawler movement. "No trawler goes in the sea during day-time", says U D Sardesai, the fishing director.

Though no government official admits that several trawlers enter the sea after sunset, a press note issued on Monday - almost five days after the fresh court order - by fisheries minister Arecio D'Souza warning about 'stern action' was enough indication to confirm it.

"In spite of the ban on fishing by the court, some trawlers were surreptitiously going out to the sea for fishing….As the governor has refused to give his assent to the bill passed by the Assembly, the government is finding itself in an embarrassing situation..", states his press note. Not a single trawler was however impounded.

The fisheries director also indirectly suggests that the authorities are not determined to impose the ban judiciously. "We have collected all the necessary scientific data to prove that the ban period should be restricted from 1 June to 24 July and need not be extended till 31 August", says Sardesai.

Meanwhile, the state authorities appear to be hand in glove with the all powerful trawlers' lobby to remain lenient towards the continuing fishing activity. "We are not at war and they are not Pakistanis", states one official while reacting to why they are not determined to follow the high court order.

Sardesai, on the other hand, admits that he has simply alerted the Coast Guard and Customs authorities that the department may require their assistance in case the war-kind of situation arises. The fish markets here however are full with fresh fish like mackerels, king fish and tiny sardines, while the one who rules Goa is also a 'Sardin'.






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