Maharashtra: Fishermen need a token before venturing into sea

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2015 23:19 IST

Fishermen will now need to take a token at 91 landing points in Maharashtra and give information about the number of men travelling on the boat, the amount of fuel they carry, and the number of days they plan to be fishing.

The system, initiated by the fisheries department of the Maharashtra government, has been in place since August 3.

Fishing wardens have been deployed at landing points such as Manori, Gorai, Versova, Khar Danda, Juhu, Cuffe Parade, Sassoon dock and Princess and Victoria docks in Mazgaon to check the number of people entering the sea.

This is then noted on the tokens and checked when the boats are docked, said officials from the fisheries department. According to officials, eight of the landing points are in the island city and two in Mumbai suburbs.

“Out of a total of 525 landing points across the state, 91 have been identified as vulnerable by the Indian Navy. Through the token system we will be able to record the exact number of boats at sea, the number of people on the boats and their scheduled return,” said a senior official, adding if a particular boat or a trawler does not return within the declared time, then they can be contacted through the communications system and search can be launched with the help of the navy.

There are about 23,000 fishing boats registered in Maharashtra, which go into the Arabian Sea unmonitored, run by close to one lakh fishermen.

The Coast Guards had made a detailed presentation to the state about the Tamil Nadu model, following which a committee was formed to implement the method, said sources in the home department. The committee included members from the department of fisheries, the Maharashtra Maritime Board, director general of shipping, along with the state’s law enforcement agencies.

However, members of the Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti opposed the system. “Every dock has close to 580 boats and if every boat will take 10 to 15 minutes for the token procedure, it will take two days for the process to be completed,” said Damodar Tandel, president.

Tandel said the token system may cost them nearly 75% of their current business.

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