Criminal cases would be registered against trawlers engaged in illegal 'purse seine net fishing' along Maharashtra's coast, state home minister RR Patil has assured a delegation of fishermen.
Patil met the delegation, along with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, at Mantralaya on Friday.
"We were told by Patil that the illegal purse seine nets from 600 trawlers at Sassoon Docks here would be seized and criminal cases filed against those concerned," Maharashtra Fishermen Action Committee president Damodar Tandel said.
Fishermen have requested the government to ban the 'purse seine net fishing' along the Konkan coast, which they say is depriving thousands of fishermen of livelihood and depleting the fish stock.
"Fish stock along the state coast is facing a serious threat of depletion due to rampant purse seine net fishing by trawlers," Tandel said.
Purse seine net encircles entire schools of fish using a technique that resembles drawing of purse-strings.
"There is already a scarcity of fish in Konkan, and some species have been fished to extinction by purse seine fishing," Tandel said.
Purse seine nets can be spread over a 3-km radius,which leaves no catch for the small-level local fishermen.
Moreover, according to Tandel, such fishing would finish off the marine life in the next 15 years.
He quoted a report by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, which says that fish species and fish catch was on decline, and a closer monitoring of the situation was required.
Fish catch in Maharashtra has halved in recent years, from 449,000 tonnes in 2002 to 244,000 tonnes in 2010.
The state government had initiated action against use of purse seine nets three years ago, but it was challenged by boat owners in the court.