Apart from the loss to the economy, juvenile fishing also badly affects the biological factors of the fish ecosystem and the unscientific practice leads to disruption in recruitment and spawning stock biomass of the fish, the report said.
Juvenile fishing is causing huge economic loss to the fisheries sector and also affecting the biological factors of the fish ecosystem, according to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
A study report prepared by the CMFRI says the most caught juveniles during the last year were of threadfin breams that caused a loss of Rs 221 crore to the fisheries sector of Kerala. The report was prepared as part of CMFRI’s research project for developing fisheries management plan for the fisheries sector of Kerala.
Apart from the loss to the economy, juvenile fishing also badly affects the biological factors of the fish ecosystem and the unscientific practice leads to disruption in recruitment and spawning stock biomass of the fish, the report said. T M Najmudeen, principal scientist at the CMFRI and the principal investigator of the project, presented the report at a stakeholder meeting held at the CMFRI to discuss the studies carried out by the institute during the last year.
Representatives of fishermen associations, trade unions, seafood exporters association, Wildlife Trust of India and officials from the state fisheries department were present at the meeting. During the discussion, fishermen called for implementing the Kerala model Minimum Legal Size (MLS) regulation in the neighboring states too.
According to them, the curb on juvenile fishing will be meaningful only if there is uniformity in implementing regulations across the country. The fishermen wanted the CMFRI to study the migratory pattern of the demersal fishery resources. Studies are also required on fish varieties like white fish whose availability is reducing.
The fishermen also wanted the CMFRI to take steps for reducing the fleet size as a solution to reduce over-fishing. The Centre should ensure that national policies are formulated strictly on the basis of scientific facts avoiding any kinds of political influence, they said. EM Abdussamad, Principal Scientist at CMFRI explained the reason behind the reduction of landing of oil sardine in Kerala for the past few years.
According to him, unfavorable climatic conditions following the El Nino badly affected the spawning and growth pattern of the oil sardine. However, the landing of oil sardine has registered a substantial increase of 176% in 2017 compared to 2016.