AP fishermen harrassed by Tamil Nadu mechanical boat operartors

A screen grab from a video of the heavy trawlers from Tamil Nadu fishing near sea shore in Prakasam district
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A screen grab from a video of the heavy trawlers from Tamil Nadu fishing near sea shore in Prakasam district

Highlights

  • They are vexed with the steel made heavy and powerful fishing trawlers fishing in the AP region and no official has resolved their complaints for months
  • They want government to control the mechanised boat from the neighbouring State and prevent them from entering the AP waters

Ongole: Urging the government to intervene, the fishermen from coastal districts of Nellore, Prakasam and Guntur districts on Sunday said that the the mechanised boats and trawlers from Talmil Nadu are attacking and damaging boats their boats.

The fishermen from these districts also alleged that the mechanised boats from Tamil Nadu are damaging their nets, boats and even attacking them personally.

They are demanding the State government to implement the Andhra Pradesh Marine Fishing (regulation) Act, 1995 in true spirit and protect them from the atrocities of the fishermen syndicate of the Tamil Nadu.

The Andhra Pradesh government announced up to 8 kilometres of the sea as the reserved zone for traditional crafts, and any authorised officer can seize mechanized fishing trawlers or vessels. Also, the mechanized vessels of length 15 meters and above, with weight more than 25 tonnes also should not fish in the reserved waters. But the heavy mechanised boats with powerful engines from Union Territory Puducherry, Cuddalore, Nagapatnam, Tuttukudi and other places of Tamil Nadu are venturing into the reserved zone for the traditional wood crafts in the Andhra Pradesh area and are damaging the boats and nets, alleged the fishermen leaders.

The leaders of the 'Samudratheera Matsyakara Karmika Union' from the Nellore, Prakasam and Guntur districts, including their president M Jakraiah, vice president G Demudu, treasurer Avula Venkataramana explained that the traditional fishermen from the coastal villages are fishing in the sea with the country crafts and boats made by wood for generations.

They said that they used to have a good rapport with the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu also and they used to cooperate with one another. However, for the last few years, the fishing companies in southern Tamil Nadu brought fishing trawlers of length more than 15 meters and run with 500HP motors to fish along the coastal line of south India.

Venkataramana said that as the traditional fishermen, they lay nets of length about 100 meters by tying between two boats or using floats in the evening and bringing the catch in the mornings. But, the heavy trawlers from Tamil Nadu are damaging the nets and taking away the catch, he complained.

He said that the local fishermen are facing threats from the Tamil Nadu boat drivers and fishermen and they even tried to run over the boats. He explained that they are spending lakhs of rupees on boats and nets, and will lose livelihood for weeks and even months until they are repaired or brought new ones after the Tamil Nadu boats damage them.

Venkataramana and others said that the local fishermen are vexed by the steel made heavy and powerful fishing trawlers fishing in the Andhra Pradesh region, and no official has resolved their complaints for months. They said that the Kerala state, in which fishing and consumption of marine products is high, is strictly implementing and penalising the Tamil Nadu trawlers, and that is why they are venturing into the Andhra Pradesh region. They demanded the government to strictly implement the AP MFR Act and see no mechanized boat, even from Andhra Pradesh, fish in the reserved region.

They demanded the government to equip the marine police and coastguard with speed boats so that they could patrol on the sea and stop the Tamil Nadu boats from venturing into the AP region.

The fishermen from the Nellore, Prakasam and Guntur districts are assembling at the Dr BR Ambedkar Bhavan in Ongole on Monday to discuss their further course of action and invited the local fishing officials also to the meeting. The fishermen leaders are of the opinion that when the government is not able to protect them and listen to their pleas, they may also not respect its instructions like paying registration charges for the boats, taking voluntary breaks from fishing, etc.

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