Karnataka: Light fishing makes it dark days for fishermen

Udupi: Fishermen here are divided over the government's ban on light fishing  carried out at night at sea using mechanised boats.  Powerful lights are trained on the water and when the fish rise to the surface, attracted by them, they are caught.  

In November last year the Union government banned the practice, which is allegedly harmful to the survival of fish species as even the small fish are caught this way, and the state government too followed suit.

Trouble began when the fisheries department and district administration officials started to implement the ban in Malpe, Udupi district, as the purse seine boat fishermen strongly opposed it. However, backing the ban strongly, another section of fishermen has decided to boycott fishing until it is enforced. 

"Fishermen, who are into light fishing are doing it only for few days in a month and only in deep sea. It is not true  that fish catch decreases because of light fishing," argues fishermen leader, Naveen, demanding,"Why  is there objection to it only in Malpe?" But another fishermen's leader, contends light fishing is dangerous to their profession as their catch could eventually decrease as a result of it.

"When light fishing has been banned by the state and Centre,  officials should take steps to stop it. Until then we will not go fishing," declares trawler fishermen's leader, Kishore.

Going by sources, the issue is gaining political colour with elections to the state assembly fast approaching. "Some want to put the blame on the state government and some on the Union government for the ban," they reveal.

The Deputy Director of Fisheries, meanwhile, said  the government order banning bull trawling and light fishing would be strictly implemented from Tuesday. 

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