Kendrapara: After six and a half months, the district’s fishermen are all set to venture into the sea June 14 for fishing as the marine fishery department is going to lift the ban on fishing within 20 km of the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary on that day.
The fishermen are now engaged in extensive preparations as the fishing ban is going to end.
The department has directed all fishermen venturing into the sea to take their registration certificates and licenses of their mechanised vessels and their marine fishery identity cards (biometric ID cards) with them, said Manas Ranjan Sahu, assistant director of fishery (marine), Kujanga.
The renewal of license and the registration of boats started April 1, and it would continue till June 30. The owners of mechanised vessels can renew documents by paying a fine till September 28. After September 28 if the department finds boats with invalid documents penalty would be imposed, said Sahu.
Around 1,000 mechanised boats have renewed their license, but very few of them have renewed their documents. “We hope after June 15, the owners of mechanised boats would come to us for renewing their documents,” an official said.
As a precautionary measure fishermen have been directed to take safety measures while venturing into the sea. The marine fishery department has asked trawlers and motorised boat owners and fishermen to paint their boats completely in red and the boot level in black.
They have also been asked to display the registered name and number of the trawler in yellow and black colours. The colours were made mandatory as it would differentiate local trawlers from trawlers of neighbouring states, Sahu said.
Around 35,319 biometric ID cards have been distributed to fishermen in Jagatsinghpur district and nearly 39,078 biometric ID cards were distributed to the fishermen of Kendrapara district, official sources said.
Marine fishermen who have Distress Alert Transmitters (DATs) have been told to take it with them when they go to sea. The fishermen have been asked to keep an eye on suspicious vessels and inform the assistant director of marine fishery, Kujanga, or coastal security by using DATs.
The forest department had imposed a ban on fishing from November 1, 2018 to May 2019 as per the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act (OMFRA), 1982, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, and the Orissa Marine Fishing Rules, 1983, to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles at Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
The department had also imposed a ban on fishing from April 15 to June 14, 2019 as fishing at that time would affect fish breeding. The ban was imposed as trawlers use nets with very small holes catching baby fishes leading to the depletion of fishing stock.
As the fishing ban is going to be lifted June 14, preparations are on in full swing at the jetties in Talachua, Ramnagar and Kharanashi, said Narayan Haldar, the leader of marine fishermen.
Hundreds of fishermen, who had left the district and were engaged in other jobs, have started returning to their villages as the fishing season is going to start. During the fishing ban many fishermen repaired their vessels, and carried out maintenance jobs on their engines, gearboxes, propeller shafts, fishing nets and icebox, said Tusar Sardar, the district secretary of Orissa Traditional Fish Workers’ Union and the secretary of the Ramchandi Boat Owners’ Association.