No law for clam ban

There is no legal framework to curb the illicit tapping of clams
KOLLAM: Like the trawling ban which is imposed to allow fish to breed and proliferate, there is no legal framework to curb the illicit tapping of clams from inland waters across the State. Though the Fisheries department imposed a ban on catching clams with a size less than 2mm during December 1 to February last each year, no mandate was put forward to restrict mechanised fishing of clams. This has seriously affected the world-acclaimed Yellow clams of Ashtamudi that has bagged the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
“The Marine Products Development Authority that issues export licences has also warned that only bigger clams for export purposes be collected. The department has also warned the clam collectors not to take out the substrate on to which the clams are attached, which is their breeding ground. But all these directions just remain as warnings without legal support,” S. Anitha, fisheries inspector, Kollam told DC.
Meanwhile, a law on banning the catching of juvenile clams has just reached the draft stage, proposed by the inland fisheries and aquaculture department back in 2010 for the conservation of clams.
The need for such a restriction was felt back in 1993, when the juvenile population of yellow clams fell drastically and it was found that it was not being replenished. A team of scientists from the CMFRI had found that the exploitation of juvenile clams was the major reason behind this.
“We had suggested a ban on fishing the clams during December – February. The mesh size of their hand dredges should also be kept above 32 mm, which is apparently violated in some areas. The clam fishermen follow the ban as a ‘self-imposed one’ with a notification issued by the district collector every year, though a proper legal framework is unavailable in the case of regulating mechanised clam fishing,” Dr. K. K. Appukkuttan, who was part of the CMFRI team, told DC.
The yellow clams are abundant in the Ashtamudi Lake extending from Neendakara to Thekkumbhagom and from East of Dalavapuram to Mukkad area. The fishermen in the area usually get a clam catch weighing upto 10 kilograms in a day. India exports about 784 tonnes of clams annually, of which over 80 per cent are from the Astamudi Lake. Around 3,000 fishermen depend upon clam fishing in the Ashtamudi Lake.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
Next Story