Crackdown soon on illegal fishing in Zuari

Panaji: Stating that the government is committed to
protect the rights of traditional fishermen, Fisheries Minister Filipe Nery
Rodrigues on Friday vowed to crack down on illegal fishing in the
Zuari river in the next eight days.

Addressing a public meeting held over illegal fishing in
the Zuari at Sridao beach in St Andre constituency, Rodrigues said, “Police and the fisheries
department must work together to stop
illegal fishing. We are not expert in carrying out operations… coastal police
personnel have been trained. Hence I request them to draw a strategy to carry out an operation against
illegalities and catch the culprit in the sea.”

“We will crack down and stop illegal fishing within the next eight days,” he assured the people attending the meeting.

The meeting was
attended by around 200 traditional fishermen and their dependants
residing along the riverbank.

If fishermen with
trawlers or mechanised boats are found carrying out illegal fishing in the
river then they would be severely punished, the minister warned, adding that if needed their licences
will be suspended by the department.

The meeting was organised
by local MLA Francisco Silveira, and
was also attended by Revenue Minister Jennifer Monserrate, officials of
the fisheries department and the coastal
police.

Admitting that there is a shortage of manpower in the
enforcement wing of the department, Rodrigues said, “We will rope in ‘able-bodied
men’. Their salaries will be paid
by the department at least for the time being until the government takes in
permanent staff.”

The Fisheries Minister said that his department will soon
engage two private vessels for effective patrolling in state waters, adding
that vessels with capabilities to chase
mechanised boats in the river and sea will be prioritised.

“We have only one patrolling vessel for the whole of Goa…
coastal police also have only one boat. Hence trawlers are taking advantage by
entering the territory of traditional fishermen. They are aware of our
weakness. Now I have my strategy in place…
we have decided not to waste more time,” he said.

Incidentally, as the meeting was going on at the Sridao
beach, around 25-odd trawlers were seen carrying out illegal fishing close to
the shore, which was pointed out to the Fisheries Minister by traditional
fishermen.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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