Fisherfolk Hold Gangamma Jatara As Fishing Ban Nears End

Visakhapatnam: Fisherfolk of Visakhapatnam and surrounding areas celebrated the Gangamma Jatara on Tuesday ahead of the ban on fishing imposed by the centre ending on June 15.

During the Jatara, the fishing community prays to Goddess Gangamma seeking prosperity and protection ahead of venturing into the sea once again.

Government of India bans fishing every year when the prime breeding season of marine life begins.

Scientist G.V.A. Prasad from the Fishery Survey of India explained the rationale behind the ban. "Scientists collect specimens of fish from sea to check whether they have begun to ovulate. Once confirmed, they relay the information to the central ministry, which enforces the ban nationwide," Prasad pointed out.

This year, ban on fishing along the east coast started from April 14 and is to end on June 15, aligning with the ovulation cycle of 60–70 varieties of fish of which 30–40 are edible. The west coast of India is observing the ban from June 1 to July 31.

"The ban ensures that various fish species multiply, benefiting the ecosystem and the fishing industry in the long run," the FSI scientist stated.

Notable among the edible species include Hilsa, Krill and various types of Pomfret.

With the end of ban on fish approaching, fisherfolk are diligently checking their nets, painting their boats by painting, stocking oil, and preserving ice for mechanised vessels.

During the ban, government supports fishermen with Rs 10,000 under the Matsyakara Bharosa scheme. Yet, many in the community face financial hardships during the ban period.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, fisherfolk underlined that the government’s support is insufficient. Andhra Pradesh Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators Association president Vasupalli Janakiram highlighted the economic challenges faced by the community.

He said, "Approximately 30,000 people depend on fishing. We have 700 mechanised boats for 15-day fishing trips and 2,000 boats for daily operations. Many of us take odd jobs during the ban or rely on savings and loans," he stated.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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