Mangaluru: Fishermen from the state fishing in the deep waters were allegedly attacked by fishermen from Tamil Nadu “without any provocation”, giving rise to another inter-state dispute.
About 300 boats from Mangaluru and Udupi, which had gone to catch small ribbon fish (Pambole fish) in the deep sea, were attacked by the boats from Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. The attackers threw stones and other materials after chasing and surrounding the fishing boats.
More than 10 boats were reportedly attacked and damaged. Some managed to escape and proceeded toward Mangaluru.
Fishermen alleged that boats suffered damages of at least 10 lahks each. Moreover, more than 1500 fishermen who are dependent on the sea for their living had to return empty-handed, they said.
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According to Mohan Bengre, a leader of the local fishermen’s association, areas beyond 12 nautical miles from the shore (i.e. beyond the territorial seas) are considered to be deep seas. Anyone from India can fish there, it does not belong to any state. So there is no question of encroachment by fishermen from Karnataka, he said.
He claimed that the fishermen from Tamil Nadu attacked without any provocation and urged the deputy commissioner and the government to immediately intervene and get justice for them.
Ribbon fish helped the deep sea fishermen when they were in trouble due to dwindling fish catch in the sea. Small ribbon fish are used in fishmeals. Due to the “unprovoked” attack the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen were at stake, he added.
Meanwhile, the visuals of the alleged attack by Tamil Nadu fishermen have gone viral on social media.
Responding to a query, Deputy Director of the Fisheries Department in Dakshina Kannada Harish Kumar said the videos of the alleged attack at sea have been received. Since it is an inter-state dispute, further instructions from the government are needed. “We will take appropriate action if Tamil Nadu fishermen are fishing within the state’s borders,” he said.