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Students ‘in deep sea’ learn the ropes

Staff Reporter

— Photo: M. Vedhan

SEMESTER AT SEA: Former deputy director general (engineering) of FSI Sebastian De Gonzaga, briefs visiting students aboard Matsya Drushti in Chennai on Tuesday.

CHENNAI: Students from several schools in north Chennai and those of the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (CIFNET) were on Tuesday taken aboard the deep sea fishing vessel Matsya Drushti, berthed at the Fishing Harbour at Royapuram. The ‘Open House’ programme was organised as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Fishery Survey of India (FSI).

They were taken around the ship and briefed about the navigation console, the engine room, the glass-like fishing line and buoys with drop-lines carrying hooks covered by baits to attract fish.

A couple of frozen tuna and sword fishes were also displayed to show the size of the catch to the students.

Inaugurating the ‘Open House,’ former Deputy Director-General (engineering) of FSI, Mumbai, Sebastian De Gonzaga, said that the FSI was established in 1946 as the Deep Sea Fishing Station to augment fish catch in deep sea. The present mandate was to assess and survey fish resources and disseminate the information to fishermen. Out of its 13 survey vessels, two are in Chennai – Matsya Drushti plying between Kodiakkarai to Kolkata for fishing at a depth of 3,000 to 4,000 metres and Samudrika — between Kodiakkarai to Krishnapatnam for fishing at a depth of 20 to 300 metres. FSI Zonal Director P. Sivaraj said they employed the latest technology of mono filament tuna longline fishing method for capturing oceanic fishes such as tuna, marlin and sword fish. Each fish may weigh around 200 kg and they tend to move fast in the ocean.

The FSI also conducted research on the catch, which could fetch anything between $4 to $20 a kg.

The vessels venture out for 20 days each month to study the significant observations in the catch patterns.

In November 2006, 1.5 tonne of yellow fin tunas were caught off the Krishnapatnam area.

The services of FSI include coastal resources monitoring, deep sea resources survey, studying continental slope resources, oceanic tuna resources, Andaman and Nicobar resources, Antarctic krill, fish stock assessment and application of remote sensing in marine fisheries.

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