Udupi, Mar 27: Fish catches that have remained in about 200 boats moored at Malpe port need to be disposed within ten days. Otherwise, the worried fishermen say, that they will rot. They have no way to handle the fish catch because of coronavirus-induced lockdown. Each of these boats have about two tonnes of fish.
Over a hundred boats which left for undertaking fishing were far away near Ratnagiri when restrictions were imposed. As such, they did not get the message to return to the shore. Many of them will return during the first week of April. Already about 200 boats loaded with fish catches are waiting at the Malpe port for disposal. They are being preserved with the help of ice but they need to be cleared within ten days and there is no provision to use ice blocks again because all the 96 ice plants in the district are closed as fishing activity has been suspended.
To make sure that the ice does not melt, ice plant is started for a couple of hours every day. Each of these units have capacity to produce 40 to 50 tonnes and they are in demand only when fishing is in full swing.
The water that gets accumulated in the anchored boats are cleared with the help of a couple of persons. Engines are being run to pump water out. Boat owners have arranged for food and ration for the workers.
The boats have not gone into the sea from Malpe shore since March 22. Malpe Fishermen’s Association president Krishna S Suvarna, says that each fishing trip costs four to five lac rupees for the boats. He said that if the fishes begin to rot, it produces gas. Fish cannot be dumped into the sea as it pollutes environment and increases risk of infectious diseases.
Fishermen leader Santoish Kunder, has urged the government to postpone the commencement of fishing ban from June 1 to June 15, and to provide for resumption of fishing from, August 15 in place of August 1 as the fishermen have suffered on account of cyclonic storms, fish famine, coronavirus etc.