The government has released orders for the annual 60-day ban on fishing by motorised and mechanised boats at the Bay of Bengal. The ban that will begin on the midnight of April 14 reportedly has fishermen recount their bitter experiences in regards to the payment of compensation they are entitled to.
The authorities have released a GO-97 yesterday directing district officials to make the arrangements necessary for strict implementation of the ban along the coast. The ban is an annual one, imposed every year to ensure a safe breeding season for marine fish. The GO bans entry of motorised and mechanised fishing boats and vessels into the Bay of Bengal between April 15 & June 14. V Venkateswara Rao, Joint Director of Visakhapatnam Fisheries reportedly stated, “We have received the GO today, but the detailed guidelines are awaited. After receiving the rules, we will form teams to enumerate the mechanised and motorised boats.”
The fishermen have stated that the compensation amount of Rs 6.79 crore was released last year in two phases for the 16,988 fishermen who had registered their names with the district fisheries department. But a group of fishermen reportedly alleged, “60 motorised boats belonging to fishermen from Visakhapatnam district which were anchored along the Antarvedi coast in East Godavari district were not taken into consideration during enumeration and the move resulted in big financial loss to those fishermen.”
Every year there are reports of fishermen facing problems while getting their compensation amount. Complaining to the authorities has also yielded no proper response. Nearly 900 fishermen are yet to receive compensation from last year, B Ranga Rao, a representative of the Fishermen Association of Vizag alleged. He further questioned the authorities saying, “Fishermen are not allowed to venture out in the sea. On top of it, they are not getting compensation. They are not skilled to eke out their living from other professions. How will they survive?”