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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Fishing community opposes colour code for boats

Special Correspondent

VISAKHAPATNAM: Colour code for mechanised fishing boats as part of the stepped up coastal security, is being vehemently opposed by the boat operators while the State Government's Fisheries Department, which has to see that the code is implemented appears to be in a fix as how to do the same in the face of stiff resistance from the operators.

The Coast Guard wanted boats operating from each coastal State to have a colour code. It is yellow for the entire hull with a blue band below that for AP, so that it is easy for it to identify the origin of boats.

The colour code should come into effect from May 31 and if the boats did not follow the code, benefits like the diesel oil subsidy and renewal of licences must be stopped, the Commissioner of Fisheries instructed the department's officials at the district level.

Fishing resumed on Thursday after the 45-day annual ban ended on May 31 and president of the AP Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators Association P.Ch. Appa Rao said on Saturday that the boat operators are not in a position to follow the colour code.

“Most of us are from fishermen community and we have our own sentiments. The colour of a boat is decided according to the goddess after whom we name a boat. We sentimentally feel that the voyage won't be good and we don't get a good catch if we change the colour of our boat,” Mr. Appa Rao said.

If the Coast Guard feels that colour code will help in identifying the State from which the boat is operating, a sort of a specific symbol or logo should be prepared for each State and large copies of it be pasted on either side of the boat, he suggested. Colour code of a boat would not be foolproof as any insurgent can paint his boat in the colours of a State and gain approach to the coast without being intercepted, he said.

The association said the Government should implement the welfare measures it promised to the fishermen instead of trying to blackmail them into accepting the colour code. A sum of Rs. 26 crore was due from the government towards diesel subsidy, it said.

It also strongly opposed the GO No. 7 banning fishing in a 274 square km area from Visakhapatnam port to Gangavaram port as it would adversely affect the traditional fishermen who were already denied a good catch due to pollution of the sea and other reasons.

When contacted Assistant Director of Fisheries M. Swarna Kumari said the Centre has issued the colour code rule several months ago and the operators were informed of the same during meetings with them. The operators were saying they could not change the colour of their boats due to sentiment associated with it while the department has to implement the rule, she said about the complexity of the problem.

However, both sides would heave a collective relief if the high-level meeting to be held in Hyderabad on June 6 found a solution to the problem. The Coast Guard, the Fisheries Commissioner and others would participate in the meeting.

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