A delegation of fishermen from Maharashtra has requested the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar 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," Maharashtra Fishermen Action Committee president Damodar 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 the use of purse seine nets three years ago, but it was challenged by the boat owners in the court.
The fishermen also sought Pawar's help in getting loans at 4% interest, like farmers get. "Pawar assured us that he will take up the issue with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee," Tandel said.