By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: Fisheries department must allow small boats fisherman's with 140 HP boats conduct fishing business under Pelagic or mid-water trawling whichs is allowe ubder EEZ guidelines. Pelagic trawls don't come into contact with the seabed so are not associated with damage to marine habitat. Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The net that is used for trawling is called a trawl. Guidelines for fishing operations in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture dated 12-11-2014 while banning Bull Trawling in section 5 but allows in guide lines section 1 (d) mid-water pelagic trawler method of fishing .Government of Karnataka fisheries department cannot disturb the activities of small boats of 140 HP boats with small nets who does their fishing above mid water and on surface water. Malpe Trawl Boat Fishermen Association has urged the government to allow mid-water pelagic trawler method of fishing for at least three months, as it is an old method of fishing which is being practiced for decades. Mid-water pelagic trawler method of fishing was in practice along the coastal districts of Karnataka during the months of September to November. He alleged that Fisheries Department officials have been targeting only the fishermen who use small sized vessels to catch fish as they do not have capacity to do bull trawling as their boats are small. The small trawl fishing has stopped since the beginning of September and the fishermen families are struggling. Deputy Director, Fisheries Department, Udupi district has not been able to distinguish the difference between bull trawling and mid-water pelagic trawler method of fishing and unnecessarily stopping small boasts and fisherman livelihood .
Pelagic or mid-water trawling: Fish that live in the upper water column of the ocean are targeted by pelagic/ mid-water trawls. The funnel-shaped trawl nets are hauled by either one or two boats (pair trawls).Pelagic boats generally fish for a single species (unlike the demersal trawls). On very large vessels, fish such as herring and mackerel are pumped onboard the vessel through a large pipe placed in the end of the net.Smaller vessels bring nets onboard. Once captured, the fish is either kept chilled on board or processed and deep-frozen at sea. Pelagic trawls don't come into contact with the seabed so are not associated with damage to marine habitat.
Bull-trawling is banned: In the case of bull-trawling, the capacity of the boat engine ranged from 350 HP to 500 HP.When two trawlers joined together for fishing, the capacity of their engines went up to 700 HP to 1,000 HP. The net is spread from the bottom of the sea to the top. Both the trawlers move for several kilometers day and night catching fish. Fishing in such a large scale and in an environmentally destructive manner had affected the purse seine boats and small country boats as well as seashore fishing. In order to save the progeny of fishes and to avoid fish famine, it was essential to ban bull-trawling and beam trawling. Bull Trawling is controversial because of its environmental impacts. Because bottom trawling involves towing heavy fishing gear over the seabed, it can cause large-scale destruction on the ocean bottom, including coral shattering, damage to habitats and removal of seaweed.