Thursday, 20 September 2018

Illegal Fishing: Seven mini purse seine boats captured from River Zuari

According to reports received at 1.00 pm today September 20, 2018 seven mini purse seine boats indulging in illegal fishing in River Zuari within 50 meters distance from Nauxim and Cacra shoreline has been captured and towed at Siridao coast. The action was jointly carried by various fishing communities on Zuari coast. There was tension built up over the past few days due to repeated illegal fishing in Zuari river. On 12/09/2018 over 80 mini purse seine boats carried on illegal fishing at 7.30 am. On 16/09/2018 inside River Zuari 2 trawlers carried on illegal fishing. On 17/09/2018 nearly 07 trawlers carried on illegal fishing very close to Odxel shore. Today morning at 9.25 am onwards 12 mini purse seining boats carried on illegal fishing in Zuari river.

In all cases, the fisheries department control room was called and informed. They promised to sent patrol boat but never did so. Then they informed that they asked coastal security police to send their boat which rarely comes and if it does then it never captures any trawlers. When called at Harbour Coastal Police Station they indulge in defaming Sanjay Pereira that he is giving wrong information on illegal fishing in Zuari. Fisheries department shares the mobile numbers of those who complain about the offenders at Zuari river who then call up fishing communities indulging in Gill net fishing and threaten with violence. Today coastal security harbour police station land line number was disabled and not communicable. Very bad state of affairs indeed!

In this context now it remains to be seen as to what action Goa Fisheries department takes today with regard to captured fishing boats. It has been repeated the advice of coastal communities to induct 24 hours monitoring of Zuari river for illegal fishing but has not been done by Fisheries department even though promised. It has sanctioned Rs. 10 crores to construct fishing jetty at MPT but has not sanctioned even Rs. 10 to procure patrol boat for exclusive patrolling of Zuari river. When fishermen offered to forgo their subsidies for one year and divert funds to buy boats; that too was rejected by the erstwhile Director of Fisheries Shamila Monteiro.

So basically Goa Fisheries department is not interested in providing a solution but only aggravates problems of illegal fishing by its inaction, act of omission. There is a crisis in political leadership as it suffers from blurred vision towards the present. Zuari river is left to be cared for by none but by the coastal fishing communities. These communities are left with no option but to enforce fisheries laws that the fisheries department repeatedly fails to enforce. For a long-term solution to emerge Goa University, International Centre, Goa etc that occupies tribal lands has to play a proactive role in defending these fishing communities from various intruders on the prowl.

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