From the onset of the monsoons in June, Goa’s annual fishing ban came into effect. Now, with the weakening of the monsoon season, the fishing ban is almost over. However, there is an uncertainty on the part of the fishing trawler owners when it comes to resuming fishing in the high seas.
Trawler owners keep fingers crossed for the return of workers
The recent and serious issue of Formalin in fish from out of Goa has left Goans wary of eating fish. Now that the fishing ban is about to end, they can once again look forward to freshly caught fish.
However, trawler owners fear that this might not happen immediately. They are facing a shortage of workers as most of these have not yet returned from their hometowns and villages.
It’s also important to note that one reason for the workers delaying their return is the fact that most do not have proper documentation. This leaves them in fear of the authorities. Vice-chairman of the Mandovi Fisheries Cooperative Society, Betim-Malim, Francis D’Souza said, “Moreover there has been opposition from their family members, urging the workers not to go back to Goa.” According to him, only 50% of workers returned to Goa last year for the fishing season from Odisha and other states.
According to a news report in the Navhind Times, despite this setback, the trawlers will go to sea with whatever crew is available. However, the catch will probably not be as big as it usually is at the beginning of the new fishing season.
Returning to the open seas to resume fishing
The fishing ban ends at midnight on Tuesday night. Which means that fishing can commence from the 1st of August, 2018, once again. Some will venture into the waters after the Narali Puja is done.
The lack of available workers to crew on these trawlers is a cause for concern. “All the workers are yet to come back. When we contacted them they said that they are engaged in agricultural activities… they will take at least two weeks to return,” D’Souza said.
It’s a problem everywhere. Trawler owners as far as Cutbona in South Goa are also hoping that the workers will return. So far, only around 20% have returned from their native lands.
The Goa Fishing Boat Owners Association president Jose Philip D’Souza has also expressed concerns over the shortage of trawler workers.
“Trawler owners are in a fix – whether to venture into the sea or not – due to the paucity of crew members, who have been browbeaten by the harsh action of the Vasco police,” he said.