The Hindu , 02 June 2006

Fishing resumes with high expectations

VISAKHAPATNAM: Brimming with confidence, fisherfolk have resumed their fishing operations after observing a 45-day ban.

The pre-monsoon rainfall and the enforcement of the ban after a long time in Orissa coast are the twin factors which have pepped up the spirit of the fisherfolk. The prediction of a normal monsoon will further enhance their chances for a rich harvest, they feel.

The ban was observed in Andhra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal coasts by the respective fisheries departments from April 15 to May 31 to allow shrimps and other species to grow.

About 70 per cent of 400 mechanised boats operated from Visakhapatnam ventured into the sea from the early hours of Thursday as the ban came to an end at the stroke of midnight. "The situation is quite favourable for us this season,'' Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, boat owner, said.

Maintenance work

He said they were expecting a good catch of white and brown prawn as well as `senku' (small prawn).

The boat owners utilised the ban period for annual maintenance of the boats each at a cost of Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.5 lakhs.

Each boat needs fuel worth Rs.1 lakh for a seven to 10-day long voyage and about Rs.50,000 towards ration, spare nets, wire rope and other material. Besides the owner, it will carry a crew comprising eight members. The mechanised boats provide direct and indirect employment to 30,000 fishermen and people involved in supply of ice, net and underwater services and spare part business.

Boat wreckage found

Meanwhile, wreckage of the fishing boat, which capsized in rough sea near Yarada, was found near Coastal Battery on Thursday.

Even as the police and naval personnel continued search operation to trace two missing fishermen, a pall of gloom descended on Gangavaram village. Two fishermen were feared dead when the boat capsized while being shifted from Gangavaram to Yarada as part of an agreement reached between the private port management and the fishermen on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the CPI and the CPI (M) leaders blamed the port management and the district administration for forcing the fishermen to shift their boats on Wednesday despite their reluctance to venture into the sea due to inclement weather.