Baliapal: The mouths of Subarnarekha and Hanskara rivers in Baliapal block of Balasore district have been encroached by some people and they have laid traps to catch fish and crabs.
The illegal blocking of the river mouths has reduced fish catch, and this has hit thousands of fishermen in coastal areas. The fishermen are now staring at an uncertain future due to this.
During high tides a huge number of fishes, lobsters and other aquatic life forms enter rivers like Subarnarekha, Hanskara and Bahabalpur.
The prawn mafia has laid traps and nets using which they catch hilsa, prawns and crabs. After conceiving, the fishes usually come to river mouths to lay spawns. After laying the eggs they go back into the sea. Local fishermen said the blocks in river mouths are preventing this.
“The spawns of prawn are very small. The mafia and some locals are using mosquito nets to catch them. But all kinds of aquatic life end up getting caught in the nets,” local fishermen said. The fishes and crabs going to river mouths are unable to return to the sea and end up in the nets.
The blocking of the river mouths is an illegal act, but inaction has encouraged this, the fishermen said.
When asked, Assistant Fisheries Officer (marine) Prakash Chandra Giri said there is need for new laws to check such things.