Fishers returning to sea after ban period instructed to keep off IMBL 

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Fishermen in Nagapattinam district who are venturing into the sea in mechanised vessels have been strictly asked to keep away from the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), particularly in view of the economic crisis faced by the island nation.

The Fisheries Department checked the vital documents including registration, fishing licence, boat insurance, and identity card before letting the boats into the sea.

About 530 mechanised vessels from various fishing hamlets in Nagapattinam district returned to the sea after the 61-day ban period for fishing in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone beyond territorial water.

The landing centres were abuzz with activity upon return of the fishing vessels that had taken off from Akkaraipettai, Keechankuppam, Nambiyar Nagar, Serudhur, Vellapallam, Pushpavanam, Arcottuthurai, Kodiakarai and other coastal hamlets.

According to Kumar, a fisherman belonging to Arcottuthurai, the catch has not been up to the expected level. The margin has become thinner due to rise in input costs, he said.

Under the prevailing circumstances, the mechanised boats are required to venture deeper into the sea and remain for a longer duration in mid-sea for returning with good catches. It is high time the fuel allotment under the subsidy is scaled up, Mr. Kumar said.

According to an official of the Fisheries Department, the mechanised boat operators have been asking for increase in the monthly quota of 1,800 litres of diesel for many years.

Though the fishers say the catch was not as per the usual levels after the ban period, officials maintain that the average level has been attained.

The fishermen were able to net a considerable extent of tuna, which commands a high price, the official said.

A huge chunk of the fish catches are transported to Kerala in view of the ban in force in the West coast until July 31, the official said.

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