Fishermen are set to seek financial help from the state fisheries department.
Mumbai: Fishermen are all set to seek zero-interest loans from the emergency funds to deal with the losses incurred during the unprecedented heavy rainfall this year. They are expected to meet fisheries department officials on September 13 to put forth their demand.
According to fishermen, they have suffered losses of Rs 4 to 5 lakh per boat since the fishing season commenced after a two-month ban. Not just the unprecedented torrential rainfall this monsoon, fishermen stated that the unanticipated rains during Ganeshotsav have also contributed to their losses.
“Not just till September 9, but in the month of August too, we were able to carry fishing activities for only 10 days. As such, 40 days, which account for 20 per cent of fishing days, were lost in the monsoon period,” said Ganesh Nakhwa, president of the Purse Seine Net Fisherman Welfare Association.
Mr Nakhwa said that his organisation has been urging the state government to provide fishermen with zero-interest loans from the fisheries departments, just like agricultural loans are given to farmers
“The operational cost of two trips, which includes boat maintenance and workers’ salary, is around `5-6 lakh. For 10,000 boats fishing in the state, the total loss could amount to Rs 500 crore,” he claimed.
Imran Maldar, a fisherman from Ratnagiri, said that he could not fish in September, while adding that several workers associated with boat operations have not been paid their salaries since last month.
“The state provides compensation of `15,000-20,000 per fishermen during a disaster, which is not enough when we are incurring losses to the tune of lakhs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) stated that the post-ban fishing has turned bleak for the first time in 10 years owing to climate change.
“There is a sudden shift in water currents due to climate change. We expected an improvement in September — the peak fishing month — but did not happen. The catch during 10 days of August was juvenile fish, which did not fetch profit,” said Ajay Nakhwa, CMFRI scientist.
The scientist added that polar vortex conditions, that is large area of low pressure and circulation of strong winds surrounding north and south pole, have also impacted Indian monsoon. This, according to him, has eventually changed water current patterns over Arabian Sea across Maharashtra too, leading to reduction in the fish stock.