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Unaware of weather alert, some 801 Kanyakumari fishermen remain at sea

Picture: From Indian Coast Guard

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State and central governments have acted to warn fishermen about heavy to very heavy rain forecast over the next five days. Most fishermen have returned due to these warnings but some 801 deep-sea going Kanyakumari fishermen remain at sea. There is no mechanism to provide them with latest weather alerts and advisories on returning.

Central and State governments have declared red alert starting Friday, expecting heavy to very heavy rains for five days. This comes at the fag end of the southwest monsoon season this year and the beginning of the north-east monsoon. There is forecast that we could expect up to 20 cm rain in parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

In such situations those who suffer first are fishermen who go out to the sea and live on the coast. The fisheries ministers of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala come from fishermen communities and seem to have put some effort into warning fishermen communities. TN minister D Jayakumar recently sent a circular laying down the action to be taken. He has said that the officials should ask fishermen not to go to the sea especially in south Kerala seas. He has asked that the officials should ask deep sea fishermen to return and ensure that this information should reach the fishermen. Fishermen’s equipment and accessories including boats should be safeguarded. He has also asked that met department advisories should reach fishermen.

Many other states including Maharashtra and Gujarat have asked fishermen not to go into the sea between Oct 5 and 10. But Kanyakumari fishermen are an exception to this. They go on month-long trips over 200 nautical miles. This time some 801 fishermen have gone into the sea in 89 boats. During Ockhi, these fishermen suffered heavily.

The Kanyakumari district collector has assured that efforts are being made to reach information to them through Coast Guard and Navy. Fishermen leaders feel that only the use of satellite phones can help to reach such information to the fishermen.

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