The announcement comes just about a week before Sankranti, which is going to affect the livelihoods of fisherfolk running into thousands. (Photo: DC)
VISAKHAPATNAM: Barring bigger vessels sailing out from the harbour, Visakhapatnam district administration has banned fishing along the coast from Peda Gantyada to Bheemli, a stretch of 55 kilometres, for an indefinite period. The ban is owing to ongoing tussle overuse of ring nets within the eight-km coastal zone in Bay of Bengal.
The announcement comes just about a week before Sankranti, which is going to affect the livelihoods of fisherfolk running into thousands.
Enforcing the ban are riot police and regular policemen of four police stations, who have fanned into fishing villages of Peda Jalaripeta, Vasuvanipalem and Jodugullapalem, where prohibitory orders under Section 144 are in force. In addition, there are two patrol boats on the sea implementing ban orders.
"The government is very particular about conserving marine life. We are hence implementing orders of High Court and state government, as well as suggestions of technical committee, which has prohibited use of ring nets within eight kilometres of the shore," fisheries joint director P. Lakshamana Rao said on Thursday.
He told Deccan Chronicle that there are 83 ring nets in Visakhapatnam, 11 of them licensed. Licenses of eight of these nets have been cancelled and three have not been renewed. This follows government orders not to renew or issue fresh licenses for use of ring nets, Lakshamana Rao underlined.
Ring nets are used by nearly 2,000 of about 10,000 traditional fisherfolk in Visakhapatnam. With limited resources and manpower, it is difficult for Fisheries Department to keep a tab on ring nets. Ring nets are mostly used in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts of the state.
"We will allow fishing after peace returns to the area. Even when we allow it, ring net boats will have to operate beyond eight kilometres, failing which we will invoke AP Marine Fishing Regulation Act and take action against erring fishermen, Lakshamana Rao declared.
Peda Jalaripeta village president Teddu Parsanna told this correspondent that they have made ring nets an issue as they had been affecting their livelihood. "If ring net owners take away the entire fish, what will the remaining 10,000 fisherfolk families get from traditional fishing," he asked.
Parsanna underlined that they are only demanding implementation of the High Court order on use of ring nets. Government must look into the matter and save their livelihoods, he stated.