Flabbergasted and horrified by the episode of formalin-laced fish being sold in Goa, Goans are poised to get fresh fish that will be caught by local trawler owners as the ban on the mechanised fishing comes to an end on Tuesday midnight.
However, trawler owners have kept their fingers crossed over the full-fledged resumption of fishing activities as most of the workers have not yet come back from their native states.
Nevertheless trawler operators and their workers have rolled up their sleeves to venture into the sea to catch the marine fish. But the fish quantity may not be robust in the beginning of the new fishing season.
Vice-chairman of the Mandovi Fisheries Cooperative Society, Betim-Malim, Francis D’Souza was enthused by the favourable weather conditions as trawler operators could make a killing.
D’Souza rued about traditional fishermen or ramponnkars fishing in the high seas, violating the norms set for the non-mechanised fishing.
The trawler owners are all ready to resume the mechanised fishing with nets, coxswains and crewmembers. However, there is an air of disappointment among some trawler operators as some of their workers have not yet come back from their native states.
It is pertinent to note here that some of the labourers working on the trawlers do not possess mandatory identity cards and become vulnerable to police harassment.
D’Souza said that due to the fear of the police some labourers delay in returning to the state for working on the trawlers.
“Moreover there has been opposition from their family members, urging the workers not to go back to Goa,” he said adding that last year only 50 per cent of the labourers from Odisha and other states had come back.
Although most of the trawler owners resume fishing on August 1, but some of them kick off the activity after the Narali pooja is officiated.
“All the workers are yet to come back. When we contacted them they said that they are engaged in agricultural activities… they will take at least two weeks to return,” D’Souza said.
At the Cutbona jetty also trawler owners keep their fingers crossed on the full-fledged resumption of fishing activities because only about 20 per cent of the workers have come back from their native states.
The beginning of the new fishing season will see taking over of the jetty by the fisheries department from Cutbona boat owners.
The Goa Fishing Boat Owners Association president Jose Philip D’Souza has also expressed concerns over the shortage of trawler workers.
D’Souza said that GFBOA members are in a dilemma in the light of the paucity of workers.
“Trawler owners are in a fix – whether to venture into the sea or not – due to the paucity of crewmembers, who have been browbeaten by the harsh action of the Vasco police,” he said.