High drama unfolded in the shallow waters off Mobor coast on Sunday morning after a fleet of Karnataka fishing trawlers were found fishing within five kilometres from the shore.
Eleven fishing vessels were finally intercepted and detained at the Cutbona fishing jetty after a hot chase by the coastal police and Cutbona boat owners. While the Betul coastal police managed to intercept two vessels following a complaint from local boat owners, another nine vessels were intercepted and brought to the Cutbona fishing jetty by the police with assistance from the boat owners around noon. Each of the 11 trawlers carried sole fish, crabs, solar shrimp and other marine food varieties.
The incident occurred this morning when a boat owner from Colva spotted fishing vessels operating close to the Goan shore. After the message was conveyed to the Betul coastal police station, two vessels were intercepted and detained before being brought to the Betul jetty.
Unhappy over the presence of Karnataka vessels close to the shore, agitated Cutbona boat owners again headed to the sea around noon accompanied by coastal police personnel and fisheries officials.
Even as the Karnataka vessels tried to retreat back into deep sea, the local police and boat owners chased and intercepted nine vessels.
After the seizure, Cutbona boat owners Union president Patrick D’Silva demanded to know how high speed vessels from outisde the state could freely fish within five nautical miles off Goa coast “This is the job of the coastal police and Fisheries Department. Why are they overlooking this serious issue when fish is turning scarce day by day”, he asked.
A local fishermen Pandari Kerkar said Karnataka fishing vessels fish day and night close to the shore, affecting the catch of Goan vessels. He called for a ban on high speed vessels operating in Goan territorial waters.
Betul coastal police station in charge, Police Inspector Gurudas Gawde said the vessels were detained for fishing within five nautical miles from the shore. “The boats and fish have been handed over to the Fisheries Department”, he added.
Federation calls for ban
MARGAO: The newly-formed All Goa Fishermen’s Federation has called for a ban on the operation of high-speed fishing boats off the Goa coast.
President of the federation, John Mendes told newsmen that they will petition the Chief Minister to impose an immediate ban on high-speed fishing boats. “We are facing a constant threat from outside fishing boats. This will kill the fishing industry. Boat owners from Cutbona, Vasco and Panjim will jointly oppose fishing by high-speed boats”, he said. [H]