Excessive fishing in God’s own country

Kerala – the God’s own country possesses a plethora of bounties of nature, and each of it has its own beauty. The hills, tea plantations, and lakes make Kerala extremely special and resourceful.

Though it has been recently witnessed that excessive fishing in the state is exhausting its marine resources. Fishing that was once highly dependent on old tools has been replaced today by modern, technologically-advanced equipment.

On February 8, 2020, the government of Kerala had even signed an MoU with the EMCC International India Private Limited, for “fisheries research and development for the upgradation and promotion of deep-sea fishing in Kerala.” The 5000-crore large-scale project included building 400 deep-sea fishing trawlers and upgrading 14 harbors in Kerala. Such massive actions are without doubt economically beneficial for the people, but they have had a negative impact on Kerala’s aquatic ecosystem.

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The number of overfished stock is alarming, as it surpasses the damage done to the marine environment. Another major issue that has stirred the problem is illegal fishing. Due to this, the incomes of several registered fishermen has drastically declined.

Surveys conducted reveal that the number of fish in inland water bodies such as brackish waters, backwaters, lakes, etc. has reduced over the last decade. This can also lead to an imbalance in the Kerala’s aquatic food chain and ecosystem.

Owed to destructive human intervention and harmful fishing techniques, Kerala’s prominent Vembanad lake, which supports a large number of fishermen in Kerala, has seen a massive drop in fish numbers too. Indulging in methods such as explosion and electrocution is a popular practice in this region, which also houses about 150 species of fish. The use of mesh-nets to sweep the bottom bed has been devastating.

It is to be noted that the problem is multi-fold, as excessive fishing not only affects Kerala’s lake’s ecosystem, but the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen is at risk. Fishermen also tend to take out more boats in the waters aiming to get a larger catch. But this only leads to an overpopulated lake, and supplements water pollution and weed growth.

Kerala has been indubitably gifted with precious reserves, that need to be protected with better legislative action and firm implementation.

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