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Sea-fishing prohibition enforced for undisturbed breeding

In a move to ensure the safe breeding of sea fish, Odisha government has gone ahead with enforcing two-month-long prohibition on marine fishing operation from April 15.

The prohibitory orders would remain in force from 15 April and would remain effective till 14 June. Any deviation on part of fishermen communities would be dealt with stringent legal provisions with the confiscation of the fishing crafts, said Deputy Director (marine fisheries) Pratap Ranajn Rout.

The fishing prohibition in view of breeding season of fish earlier lasted for 45 days. However it has been extended to 60 days as per order issued by union agriculture ministry. The 60-day fishing ban is being enforced simultaneously in West Bengal, Telengana, and Andhra Pradesh on eastern coast, said officials.

The annual fishing ban is being enforced for the larger interest of those living on fishing activity. The restriction on fishing is imposed every year to allow breeding and multiplication of fish population. Thus it is aimed at greater interest for the fishermen as it leads to the larger yield. The fishermen and trawl operators had been asked not to undertake fishing voyage. Prohibition on sea fishing was promulgated under Odisha marine fishing regulation act besides the directions from the union government.

Itís an admitted fact that fishermen and stakeholders of sea-fishing would be on the losing side due to the ban. But it would reap long-term benefit for them in form of higher catch.

Those living on fishing and ancillary activities have been badly hit by the ban. Sea fishing has suffered major interruption this year. Frequent formation of low pressure and resultant cyclonic weather has posed major impediments as fishermen and crews were forced to suspend the fishing operation following nature induced causes, said representative of local trawl operatorsí union, Sumant Biswal.

Over 1000 mechanized boats besides trawls and medium and small size motorized boats which operate from Paradip fisheries harbour have been left idle. It had become tough time for fishermen, fish workers and vendors to support their families while it hardly made difference to the wealthy trawl owners. Bereft of alternative income sources, the fish workers and vendors were left to fend themselves, remarked, seagoing fishermen union spokesman, Tushar Sardar.

Apart from fishing prohibition due to ongoing breeding season, the state government had also imposed 'Fishing Ban' from 1st November to 31st May throughout the twenty km off the seacoast of the coastal district of Kendrapara from Gahiramatha to Hukitola covering 35 km to protect the annual migration of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles to the Odisha coast for mating and laying eggs. The prohibition would remain in force till 14 June keeping in view fish species breeding period.   
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