The All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association has appealed to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to intervene to end the “harsh treatment of boat owners” at the hands of the Fisheries department in the form of impounding of boats and imposition of heavy penalties.

A letter to the Chief Minister alleged that a 72-year-old boat owner in Ponnani saw his boat being impounded by Fisheries department officials on April 23, 2024. The boat owner was also asked to pay a penalty of ₹90,000 for non-renewal of licence.

Though the boat owner tried to convince the department officials concerned about his financial status, they did not relent and he approached the appellate authority, which also did not provide a favourable order. The boat was finally released after a court directive and appellate authority decision after great hardship, claimed Joseph Xaiver Kalapurackal, general secretary of the Boat Owners’ Association.

The boat owners have claimed that the owner of the boat that was impounded suffered financial losses as the vessel was held in custody for more than a month. Besides, the boat sustained damage and needs to be repaired. These issues have to be taken into consideration and fishermen and boat owners need to be treated more compassionately, the boat owners said.