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Trawling ban from June 15

Special Correspondent

`Government not to yield to pressure from boat owners'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The monsoon ban on trawler vessels fishing in the seas off the coast of the State will come into effect at midnight on June 14.

Fisheries Minister Dominic Presentation said at a press conference here on Wednesday that the ban would be for 45 days as in previous years.

He ruled out the possibility of the Government giving in to pressure from boat owners to deviate from its practice of imposing the ban.

"No mechanised boat will be allowed to go into the sea during the ban period.

The ban does apply to traditional fishing crafts and canoes fitted with motors. Mechanised boats from other States too will not be permitted to enter the territorial waters," Mr. Presentation said. The Marine Enforcement wing will patrol the coastal seas round the clock.

Vizhinjam, at the southern tip of the State's coast, and Kasaragod, at the northern tip, will witness intense patrolling, he said.

Mr. Presentation said the State had urged the Centre to prohibit foreign vessels from the coastal seas of the country.

The State has sought the help of the Coast Guard and the Navy to prevent foreign trawlers from entering the territorial waters, he said.

He urged traditional fishermen to cooperate with the Government in preventing destructive modes of fishing. They should not use mini-trawlers or prohibited fishing nets during the ban period.

He said the Government hoped to introduce a subsidy for the diesel for mechanised fishing boats after the expiry of the ban. This subsidy, promised in the State budget this year, will be of the order of Rs.1.50 a litre.

The involved sections will be called for a discussion before introducing the subsidy, he added.

The Government has strengthened its rescue machinery. Control rooms have already started functioning at district fisheries offices and an information network will become operational soon, linking the control rooms.

At Vizhinjam, Neendakara, Vypeen, Beppur and Kannur, the Fisheries Department will keep ready two rented boats each for rescue operations, Mr. Presentation said. Two lifeguards, armed with rescue gear, too have been posted at each of these places.

He said rescue work would begin the moment accidents were reported at the control rooms.

In the event of an accident, the contact numbers are: 94471-41183 and 94471-41180 (chief control room), 94471-41189 (Vizhinjam), 94471-41191 (Neendakara), 94471-41192 (Vypeen), 94471-41186 (Beppur), 94471-41193 (Kannur) and 94471-49000 (Superintendent of Marine Enforcement).

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