Bengaluru: The fishermen in Karwar want the government to stop unauthorized diving at Netrani Island. Located 18 km off Murdeshwar Coast, Netrani Island has rare coral reefs and shoals of coral- dependent fish, which have been attracting diving groups from Mumbai and Goa for the past two years.
The diving activities began after green activists ensured that the Indian Navy, which used Netrani island for target practice, stopped its bombing on the eco-sensitive islands. The island is also used for fishing by fishermen from Bhatkal, Honnavar and Murdeshwar.
The Murdeshwar Motor Boat Fishermen's Association have given a letter to the government demanding a ban on diving around Netrani as this activity has adversely affected the fish yield.
"The number of fish have come down in the last two years. A large number of fish used to be found around the island rocks, but now the constant diving is driving the fish away from the island. Many fishermen have complained that the yield has come down by at least 40% now after the diving activities have increased," said Ganapati Mambre, Association President.
Local conservationists from Karwar are doing all they can to protect the eco-sensitive island since 2003, which was when the naval bombardment stopped and the diving rose.
The conservationists allege that companies like Dive Goa, Goa diving, Barracuda diving, Dreams Diving, West coast diving, Planet scuba, Goa Aquatics, Absolute scuba, Orca dive club, Bangalore dive club, Scuba love, Shark Tale scuba, Turtle Bag ECO Resort, Wild Woods Spa and Resort, RNS Hotels and Resorts, Sea view resort, Kamat hotel, Marvali beach resort, Panchawati Yatri Nivas, Kamat Yatri Nivas and many others are operating around Netrani Island without taking permission from any of the government departments in Karnataka.
"Each diver is charged a minimum of Rs 6,000 per diving session. Out of this, not a single penny is given to the government or local bodies in Karwar. And now they are spoiling the fish yield. The government must take action against companies operating illegally at the islands. All they do is take permission from the Coastal Police to reach the island. We are demanding that both diving and fishing must be regulated around the island. The Forest Department must take over the maintenance of the island as a multitude of fish and birds have made this island their home for many years," a conservationist added....