40 deaths in 2 months force Bengal govt to frame guidelines for fishing trawlers

The administration will be strict about the use of life jackets for all aboard fishing trawlers and non-mechanised boats that go out in the coastal waters of Bengal.

Updated: Aug 16, 2018 14:58:58

By Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri

Most of the trawlers have capsized near the Kendo and Jambu islands near the Sundarbans. (HT Photo)

The deaths of 40 fishermen in three incidents of trawler capsize in the Bay of Bengal in a little over two months have prompted the West Bengal government to formulate guidelines for fishermen, trawler owners and operators.

Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha said the guidelines will include identification of certain “safe shipping routes” that will have to be mandatorily followed by trawlers and non-mechanised boats.

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The administration will also be strict about the use of life-jackets for all abroad these vessels that go out to fish in the coastal waters of Bengal. “The trawler owners and trawler in- charge will be held accountable on this count,” the minister said.

According to the records of the state fisheries department, around 10,000 trawlers and boats set out for deep-sea fishing from the three harbours of Namkhana, Fraserganj and Kakdwip. Of these around 5,500 are trawlers and the rest are non-mechanised boats.

A fisheries department official, who did not wish to be named, said that the marine division of the department has identified certain routes where most of the trawlers have capsized.

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“These routes are mainly adjacent to islands like Kendo and Jambu islands. These routes will marked as unsafe and buoys will be anchored at these points to warn vessels,” said the official.

According to the president of West Bengal United Fishermen Welfare Association, Bijan Maity, every year mishaps take place during this time of the year when thousands of fishermen go out to the deep-sea braving choppy waters to catch Hilsa, a fish favourite of most of the Bengalis.

“Some precautions and restrictions need to be imposed to prevent such mishaps. Let us wait and see how the measures announced by the department work out,” said Maity.

The Mamata Banerjee administration pays Rs 2 lakh compensation to the families of fishermen who die in incidents of trawler/boat capsize.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 14:58:58


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