Balasore: The administration imposed fishing restrictions from April 1 which will continue till June 1. Usually, mechanized boats and trawlers are barred during this time, but restrictions on general boats or ferries for this year has affected livelihoods of thousands of fishermen in costal pockets of Balasore.
“The administration has barred us from using boats. About 20,000 fishermen families solely depend on marine fishing. The restrictions will take a toll on our livelihoods. We will go hungry for three months if we sit idle without doing our traditional activity,” said a fisherman,
Over 400 fishermen from Bahabalpur, Kasaphala and Srikana panchayats under sadar block met collector Pramod Kumar Das and DFO Harshabardhan Udgata Saturday over this issue. They urged the district administration to consider their demand and allow them to fishing with manual boats.
Notably, the government bars boat operation for these two months every year in view of the fish breeding season. Operation of mechanised boats and trawlers during the period is harmful for breeding activities.
Local fisherman Prabir Das stated that over 5,000 fishermen families use manual boats, but such curbs have affected over 20,000 families in the block. However, the fishermen, who use traditional boats, said fishing is their sole occupation.
“This keeps us going. We have taken loans from banks. If we do not go fishing, how we will repay our loans,” asked several fishermen like Sukadev Mandal, Bhudeb Samal, Jitendra Jena, Sanjay Mandal, Sushil Mandal, Biswajit Mandal and Arun Swain.
The district administration did not assure fishermen of any step to relax restrictions, but it indicated to hold discussions with the fisheries department. PNN