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திங்கள், ஏப்ரல் 25, 2011

Spreading the net in tough times

CUDDALORE: 

           Though deepsea fishing by heavy motorised boats and trawlers has been prohibited for 45 days during April and May, fishermen are venturing into the sea in fibre boats fitted with outboard engines for a distance of about six to seven km from the shore.

            They are doing so at their own risk, or in other words, most probably they cannot get adequate fish in shallow waters that would take care of the expenses incurred on fuel and wages to be paid to the helping hands, leave alone making profits. Since the fishermen are accustomed to taking fish meal every day, it is near impossible for them to modify their culinary habit for such a “long period.” Hence, at least, for catering to local needs they would have to carry on the fishing activity, on a small scale.

           According to K. Manoharan (37), a fisherman at Thazhanguda, the fish catch has dwindled in the past few months. What they get in their fishing nets are mostly sardines (“mathi”) that are least in demand locally. Therefore, this variety is being sent to the fishing yards for making “dry fish” that verily reduces the value of the catch. For catching this type of fish, only gill nets are being used and these nets could be spread for a distance of five to six km.

          The texture of the gill net is such that it can hold only small fishes, while the bigger ones would nip through it. Mr. Manoharan says that usually fishermen go in groups of five to ten boats, and off sea, they almost position themselves in a row. The occurrence of shoals of fish could be sighted from at least two to three km by experienced fishermen. Frolicking fishes or those jumping in and out of water would also betray the whereabouts of their kind, he says.

           . Murugesan of Thevanampattinam says that the direction of the wind is also the indicator for assessing the fish occurrence. The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, through satellite imaging, also helps fishermen in locating the fish breeding places. He says that for the whole of last year, the wind was not favourable and, therefore, the fish catch was less than the yearly average.

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