Chennai: In a step towards encouraging fishermen to take up deep-sea fishing and to put an end to disputes arising between India and Sri Lanka,Â Tamilnadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday inaugurated a new scheme in which traditional trawler boats can now be exchanged for deep-sea fishing boats and it would be funded by the government.
Through video conferencing, Palaniswami flagged off the first four boats manufactured by the Cochin Shipyard.
According to a media report, all trawler boats would be replaced under the project and over 2,000 deep sea fishing boats would be introduced in a course of five years, the cost of which would be Rs 1,600 crore.
The state-of-the-art boats are called â€˜Tuna long lining and gill-netting fishing vessels,â€™ and they are equipped with modern navigation and communication equipment along with advanced net hauling and liner winches. Galleys, bio-toilet, refrigerated seawater system and stainless steel-cladded PUF insulated Fish Hold to preserve the catch are also included in the boats.
The new project will now help fishermen in the Palk Straits to venture deep into the Indian Ocean, Arabian sea and other deep sea areas to look for fish like tuna that are in high demand and thus end the issue between the two nations.
Bottom trawling, an ecologically destructive practice, involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources. This process is banned in Sri Lanka.
According to reports, under the scheme, the Centre would be funding 50 per cent and the State government 20 for a boat, which costs around Rs 80 lakh. Of the remaining, 10 percent would be funded by the fisherman himself, and the balance 20 by banks.
While Tamilnadu fishermen in the Palk Bay region are used to only one-day fishing, deep sea fishing would involve 10 to 30 days. Skill development training to learn the trade would be given to them, said an official.