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The Mangaluru district administration has announced a 61 days monsoon fishing ban between June 1 and July 31. All mechanized boats with onboard and outboard engines above 10 HP have already begun being hauled up in Mangaluru and along the coast. All mechanized and deep-sea fishing activities will come to a halt from the night of  May 31.

As a result, the west coast fish eaters will not have their hot fish curries and fries for over two months. However, the kitchens along the coast will depend on the shore fishing (within 2 nautical miles) during this period, thanks to the traditional fishermen who venture into the sea with their country craft during the ban.

And these small fishers have good company —the Karnataka Naadadoni (country craft) are joined by an army of traditional fishermen from Tamil Nadu who have started arriving on the shores of Mangaluru with their colourful 30 feet boats and nets. All the way from across the Peninsula, these fishermen mount their boats on trucks and take the road from Chennai, Tuticorin, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and other fishing towns on the east coast. The first batch of 12 boats has already arrived and is preparing to join fishing expeditions with their hosts among the local fishermen.

All mechanized and deep-sea fishing activities will come to a halt from the night of 1 June till 31 July

The local fishers’ association, the Karavali Meenugarara Abhivraddi Mandali, at a meeting last week, ratified that the fishermen from Tamil Nadu who use specific types of boats, will be allowed to undertake fishing expeditions.

“We have an unwritten convention that the fishermen of the neighbouring states who use country crafts with lower power outboard engines should be allowed to fish in our waters. This is basically due to the livelihood issues. On the east coast, since the shore fishing during the monsoons is saturated, these fishermen will have no livelihood for the entire monsoon period,” said senior fisher leader Sathish Panamboor.

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And the Tamil Nadu fishermen gel well with the local market dynamics and contribute to the local economy. “We incur not less than Rs. 16,000 towards bringing our boats here for the season. If the boat survives the travel and the shore fishing season in Karnataka, we take them back hiring the trucks from here. Usually, one truck will hold three boats. During a typical season, we earn a lakh of rupees if the catch is good,” explained Doraiswami who has come from Nagapattinam. “This coast is good for oil sardines and smaller mackerels and in rare cases we also get prawns during the monsoons, which we sell in the local markets. We like the auction system in Mangaluru and Malpe ports as it is fair and pro-fishermen,” he added. His wife, Andalamma who was mending the nets at their camp in Bengre, said, “Whenever we come here we save something to take back. The Karnataka fishing community is very kind.”

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