Thursday, 17 October 2019

Problems faced by small scale fishing communities in Goa’s rivers




                                                                                                      Date: 17th October 2019

To,

Rohita R. Naik,
Superintendent of Fisheries,
Panjim, Goa.

Subject : Your letter dated 11/10/2019 with subject Problems faced by small scale fishing communities in Goa’s rivers

Dear Rohita,

Thank you for your above mentioned letter asking for details of documents [Vessel Registration Certificate (VRC), Fishing Vessel Licences, Fishing Net Licence Book] of fishermen facing problems due to water sports activities by Aquasail Distribution in response to our letter to the Fisheries Minister dated 26/08/2019.

All the fishermen in Odxel, Siridao, Cacra and Nauxim using motorized canoes are facing the problem. Now till November 02, 2019 they are busy preparing for Public Hearing on Nauxim AHOY Marina that promises to increase water sports boats in Zuari and disrupting the fishing completely several times more than Aquasail Distribution.

Therefore you are requested to access documents from Fisheries department records as they were issued by your office as it is macro problem affecting all the fishermen and fisher communities.Alternatively you can visit all these villages and hold consultations to know about the matter. If needed, we will facilitate the visits. However make sure that NOC are not issued to Aqua sail this year. You may check the department records when Director Shamila Monteiro had revoked NOC to Aquasail distribution and restored after nine months due to Political pressure from then Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar.

Sharing important study abstracts for your information on the subject: 10.5 of SSF Guidelines that requires implementation of holistic and inclusive ecosystem approaches in the fisheries sector. Approach in locating Aquasail boats in Zuari river is not holistic, its not inclusive and it is hostile to ecosystem. A.K. Whitfield from South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, South Africa and A. Becker from School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia has jointly published their study titled “Impact of recreational motor boats on fishes : A Review” in Marine Pollution Bulletin Vol. 83 pages 24-31 in 2014. Sharing abstract their study to harm Marina boats and water sports boats could cause to biology and ecology of fish: “A considerable amount of research has been conducted on the impacts of recreational boating activities on fishes but little or no synthesis of the information has been undertaken. This review shows that motor boats impact on the biology and ecology of fishes but the effects vary according to the species and even particular size classes. Direct hits on fishes by propellers are an obvious impact but this aspect has been poorly documented. Alterations in the wave climate and water turbidity may also influence fishes and their habitats, especially submerged and emergent plant beds. Sound generated by boat motors can also influence the communication and behaviour of certain species. Pollution arising from fuel spillages, exhaust emissions and antifouling paints all have detrimental effects on fishes. Finally, the use of recreational boats as vectors of aquatic invasive organisms is very real and has created major problems to the ecology of aquatic systems.”

Further Sofia Jain-Schlaepfer, Eric Fakan, Jodie L. Rummer, Mark I. McCormick from ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia together with Stephen D. Simpson from Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Geoffrey Pope, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK has published their joint study titled “Impact of motorboats on fish embryos depends on engine type” in a Journal named Conservation Physiology Volume 6, 2018. Abstract of their study is reproduced and worth noting as to what could be the impact of motorboats that aquasail distribution attracts in Zuari and resultant impact on marine ecology. “Human generated noise is changing the natural underwater soundscapes worldwide. The most pervasive sources of  underwater anthropogenic noise are motorboats, which have been found to negatively affect several aspects of fish biology. However, few studies have examined the effects of noise on early life stages, especially the embryonic stage, despite embryo health being critical to larval survival and recruitment. Here, we used a novel setup to monitor heart rates of embryos from the staghorn damselfish (Amblyglyphidodon curacao) in shallow reef conditions, allowing us to examine the effects of in situ boat noise in context with real-world exposure. We found that the heart rate of embryos increased in the presence of boat noise, which can be associated with the stress response. Additionally, we found 2-stroke outboard-powered boats had more than twice the effect on embryo heart rates than did 4-stroke powered boats, showing an increase in mean individual heart rate of 1.9% and 4.6%, respectively. To our knowledge this is the first evidence suggesting boat noise elicits a stress response in fish embryo and highlights the need to explore the ecological ramifications of boat noise stress during the embryo stage. Also, knowing the response of marine organisms caused by the sound emissions of particular engine types provides an important tool for reef managers to mitigate noise pollution.” In this context water sports installation in Zuari river is a major set back to ecosystem approach advocated for fisheries. Goa Government through Fisheries department has commissioned study in Zuari river to find out impact of water sports boats on marine ecology and on fishing activities but study is delayed by one year due to lack of finance and file is pending in the Goa Finance Ministry for so long. It is safe to conclude from the way state of affairs are that Goa Government is sabotaging prosperity of small scale fishing activities in a planed manner and we strongly condemn this attitude of Goa Government.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,

        Sd/-

Maggie Silveira
President, Goa State

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