Fishermen from Vasco apprehended a trawler from Maharashtra for allegedly using the illegal LED lights while fishing off Grande Island, here on early Tuesday morning. A video went viral on social media, in which some local fishermen from Hollant, Vasco, were seen questioning the crew to produce documents, certification and permissions for using LED lights for fishing activity in Goan waters.
The fishermen then brought the trawler to Hollant, and contacted the Fisheries Department, demanding an investigation and asked the authorities to impound the illegal gear used by the vessel so it could serve as a deterrent to other violators.
Olencio Simoes, General Secretary of Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE), demanded that the Fisheries Department initiate stringent action against the Maharashtra-based fishing trawler for using LED lights and illegal gear to carry out fishing in Goan territorial waters. He demanded that the illegal gear and the trawler be impounded. LED fishing is banned across India, and several fishing associations and trawler owners had urged the government to get it revoked, as they claim that the use of LED lights during night-fishing was the only way they could turn a profit in their business.
Simoes said that the incident shows that the ban on LED fishing imposed by both, the State and Central government, is not being implemented even after the intervention of the High Court of Bombay at Goa. It also means that LED fishing activity has not stopped
completely, even as its reduction has given local fishermen a good catch of mackerel and sardines. The High Court had in October pulled up Goan authorities for letting violators off with only a fine of Rs 5,000, and without seizing their equipment. “If violators are being let off with a paltry fine, then the implementation of the ban will be a casualty,” the HC had said. Simoes said that the boat owners from neighbouring Maharashtra were completely against the use of LED fishing in their State and suspected that because of their stand, some trawlers from Maharashtra are fishing with LED lights in Goan waters, thereby posing a threat to marine life and affecting the livelihood of traditional fishermen.