Click here for links to this story from Cacra on the banks of Zuari river.
Friday, 28 May 2021
Monday, 24 May 2021
ALL GOA SMALL SCALE RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES UNION
190, Nauxi, Bambolim, Tiswadi, Goa. 403 206
Department of Fisheries,
Government of Goa,
Subject: Objections to registration of purse seine fishing nets and registration of canoes above 38 ft
It has come to our attention that your office is planning to register purse seine fishing net and above 38 ft canoes through Supritendent of Fisheries letter no. DF/ENF/GRE-/2021-22/503 dated 05/05/2021.
Your office is petitioned several times by different groups such as Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit from 2014 over the issue of illegal fishing in Zuari river. It has been our experience that inspite of purse seine fishing nets being outlawed within 5 kms from the shore they continues doing so without fear and respect for law in canoes below 38 ft. Your office as well as coastal security police has failed to enforce law and as a result violations since 2014 are rampant.
Your office has poor record of enforcement in cases of violations by existing fleet of canoes below 38 ft using purse seine fishing nets is not only poor but in collaboration with purse seiners and coastal security police has promoted criminal litigations against those like Sanjay Pereira who has been consistently communicating to your office about the prevailing illegalities in Zuari river by purse seine fishing boats. Your office has supported false criminal cases by delegating your Fisheries officials as witnesses at Judicial Magistrate Senior devision at Vasco and Court of Deputy Collector, Vasco. Fisheries Minister Philip Neri Rodrigues is sleeping over the file to withdraw these criminal cases from the time he too charge as Fisheries Minister few years ago.
We object on both counts, namely increasing the size of canoes exceeding 38 ft as well permitting use of purse seine fishing nets. Their high powered intrusions towards illegal fishing within 5 kms from the coast will deplete Fisheries as well as disrupt livelihood systems of traditional fishing communities indulging in small Scale Fisheries through passive fishing gears such as gill nets predominantly used in Zuari river. Fisheries department as well as Coastal Security Police lacks adequate number patrol boats and even existing ones cannot be maintained as evident from constant breakdowns. Fisheries department has just one patrol boat for the entire State of Goa without 24×7 service. Coastal Security Police has just two patrol boats that are reported in non-working conditions on several occasions by Coastal Security Police station at Harbour, Vasco. Checking illegal fishing by purse seine fishers has not surfaced as yet as a priority of Fisheries department as well ad Coastal security police. Purse seiners has carried on illegal fishing even during monsoon fishing ban period. The foundation of purse seine fishing is greed and violence.
Purse seine fishing is proved and known to cause remarkable depletion of fish life due to its exploitative nature of fishing dealing body blow to marine ecology as several non-target species are trapped as by-catch facilitated by technology such as fish finders on board.
Late Mathany Saldanha, the champion defender of marine ecology as well small scale Fisheries in India who played key role in formation of GRE always opposed purse seine fishers due to their destructive role particularly towards traditional fishermen who are engaged in small Scale Fishery. We fail to understand as to how how GRE that late Mathany Saldanha founded is championing the cause of purse seine fishers in Goa as evident from the above quoted reference number of the Superitendent of Fisheries letter dated 05/05/2021. This is a terrible betrayal of the small Scale Fisheries in Goa.
We oppose the above referred proposal of the Department of Fisheries to register canoes above 38 ft as well as permissions for purse seine fishing nets as their impact will be felt by small scale fishers within 5 kms from the coast due to Coastal Security Police and Department of Fisheries constantly collides with those engaging in illegal fishing in Zuari river. Best example that can be cited is that of Tulsidas Kukalkar who daily with his fleet of trawlers including infamous "Netra" is carrying on daily illegal fishing in Zuari between 7.30 pm to 3.00 am.
Therefore we conclude that your move to permit canoes above 38 ft and purse seine fishing nets is not only detrimental to the interest of the small scale fishers in Goa but is also harmful for marine ecology with its large by-catch of non-target species -even tiny in size - that is either discarded as dead fish waste or used as fertilizer.
You are hereby advised to refrain from permitting canoes above 38 ft and purse Seine fishing nets. You must instead identify and discourage use of purse seine fishing nets. We have learned that size of canoes are to be increased upto 70 ft fitted with purse seine fishing nets. Just imagine how quickly such a decision will destroy not only marine Fisheries but also intensify illegal fishing within 5 kms thereby causing rapid destruction of small scale fisheries.
By the way who gave your office and GRE this destructive idea? It is symptom of intellectual bankruptcy. Beware! We are opposed to your plan for above cited reasons and will continue to speak up and articulate in defence of fisheries sustainability in the face of predatory purse Seiners.
You are therefore advised to reconsider your plans and then communicate to all the concerned before arriving at the disastrous decision to increase the size of canoes and legalization of purse seine fishing.
Instead of increasing the size of existing canoes allow more smaller canoes with gill nets whose applications are pending and kept on hold citing the Scientific reasons of sustainability of Fisheries. How does sustainability of marine ecology is facilitated by increasing the size of canoe to above 38 ft and by permitting purse seine fishing nets? What are the studies your office has received from GRE to suggest such a sinister plans? What horse power engine will be fitted to the canoes above 38 ft ranging upto 70 ft? Fish is great source of nutrition to society, should you take decision that will push Goa's fisheries towards dead path? It will be awful if you commit such a blunder.
Without regrets, we are opposed to increasing size of existing canoes above 38 ft and promotion of purse seine fishing nets by your office.