Kozhikode: The 52-day trawling ban declared on June 9 has left the fishermen in the coastal villages high and dry. The usual hustle and bustle of fishermen moving to the sea, boats returning to the coast with fish, vendors jostling to identify the best items and the clamour of the bidders have vanished.
Nearly 500 boats have been anchored on the shores of Vellayil and Puthiyappa alone, the fishing hamlets near the city. Most of the fishermen of mechanised boats and fishing harbour labourers are now engaged in miscellaneous work to eke out a living. It is a hard time, they said.
The fishermen treat this period as their holiday and engage in maintenance work on boats like painting and knitting the fishing nets and equipment.
"We visit various places, including temples, in groups with family and friends. A few try fishing on canoes which is permitted in limited areas," said a boat owner Ratheesh Babu of Puthiyappa,
The fishermen expressed concern over the lack of schemes to assist them. They lamented that the 'Thanal' project launched to help them was not beneficial. The annual insurance of Rs 4,500 announced for them by Matsyafed had not reached them for the last many years.
"With the escalating fuel cost, we are unable to pay the fuel bills at times from the fish sale," said Sugesh, another boat owner. "We need about 5,000 litres of diesel for the 10-12-day long fishing trips in deep sea. The bus and taxi owners resort to strike over fuel price hike while we have no option but to remain tight-lipped though we were hurt more with the fuel price hike," he pointed out....