June 28, 2019
Kochi: The iconic Chinese fishnet or ‘Cheena Vala’, that is closely associated with Kerala and dots the coastal region, may soon many be relegated to history.
This is because the government is going to take stern action against several of them for operating illegally.
They can stay anchored if their owners take permission from local bodies.
According to officials, some of the nets were set up in a manner causing problems to navigation boats in the State.
The fisheries department is all set to root out these fishnets at the earliest.
Fisheries Director S Venkateshapathy told The Covai Post that the Government had been asking illegal fishnet operators to clear them, though the refused to heed.
This was a continuing process. This time, the department was serious about acting against them, said Venkateshapathy. No one would be allowed to set up such a net violating norms.
He said if they failed to remove the nets, the department would take action against them. The Government had no rehabilitation plan for such fishermen, he added.
Some fishermen and their families had gone aggressive against fisheries department officials when they went to remove illegal nets in Kottayam the other day.
The officials dispersed after the fishermen agreed to remove the net in 10 days.
Notices were given to owners of the fishing nets at Kumbalangi, Edakochi, Njarackkal, Varapuzha and Chellanam among others.
The government last served notices in 2003.
It is estimated that there are over 700 illegal Chinese nets in these backwaters.
Tourism destination Fort Kochi and nearby areas have some fishnets which are licensed as the area comes under the control of Cochin Port Trust.
Derson Antony, coordinator of Kochi Chinese Net Owners Association, said the nets were mostly in backwater areas.
Those operating illegal nets are mostly illiterate and have little knowledge about the law. It is not difficult to get permission from the panchayat to operate Chinese nets, Thomas said.
Also, these people do not have any association to discuss their issues, he added.
He also blamed the State Government for not taking steps to create awareness among the fishermen on the need to take licence.