Malpe: Although almost three months have passed since this terms fishing cycle started, the fishing nets laid by purse seine fishermen is not catching enough fish. In comparison to last year, some of the purse seine boats have not even earned a minimum income of 15%. Hence, most of the purse seine boats, almost 80% of them to be precise, have remained anchored at the shore.
Purse seine fishermen mainly depend on the temperature of the sea to catch the fish which presently has not come down yet. Hence, most of the fishes have remained down in the depths and are not coming to the surface. Along with this reason, natural disasters and effluents being discharged into the sea has also brought down fish numbers drastically.
Labourers return back to their hometowns
Including Malpe bunder, there are around 700 to 750 purse seine boats in the state. Each boat has around 35 – 40 labourers most of who are from Jarkhand or Odisha states. Whether there is fishing or not, the labourers must be paid their dues. Every time a purse seine boats goes on a fishing expedition, it has to spend a minimum of Rs 25,000 including charges for diesel, bonus and other expenses. Since the purse seine boats which have gone on a fishing expedition are returning empty handed, most of them are presently apprehensive to leave the shore. Thus, labourers who are currently without work are returning back to their hometowns in search of any other job.
Close to 40% of the boats have not yet ventured into the sea
In comparison to last year, only 15% of fishing has occurred, in that too, only 15-20 boats have conducted fishing. There are 140 purse seine boats at Malpe bunder and due to adverse weather condition, close to 40% of the boats have not yet left the shore even since the beginning of the fishing cycle.
Water temperature need to fall
This time there was more rain and excess river water has reached the sea. But, it is being said that the change in the direction of the wind, the sea water temperature has not yet dropped. Normally, westwind bring down the temperature of the sea. However, this time the wind is blowing towards the south and hence the temperature has not yet reduced. Since the temperature has not reduced, the fishes prefer to remain at the deeper reaches of the sea and do not come to the upper levels. And due to this fact, purse seine fishermen are returning almost empty handed from their fishing expedition, opinion senior fishermen.
First time situation
Excluding purse seine boats, all other forms of fishing are catching required amounts of fish. Normally, there used to be a good catch of sardines, mackerel, pomfret and other fishes during this period. But presently, the situation is so bad that we might as well pull the boat ashore. In the last 40 years, this is the very first time, purse seine fishermen are facing such a bad situation – Naveen Kotiyan, Joint Secretary, Malpe Purse Seine Fishermen Association
No relief from the government
The lack of fish has removed any income for purse seine fishermen. This is causing much trouble to the families of the affected fishermen. Paying back bank loan interest has become difficult. Labour class families are forced to beg money from others. The fishermen are requesting that the government should create a plan to provide relief to them – Yashodhara Amin, President, Malpe Purse Seine Fishermen Association