GOVERNMENT CRACKS WHIP ON PURSE SEINE FISHING
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Cracking down on illegal purse seine fishing, which seriously harms marine life, the TN State government has been conducting checks to prevent use of purse seine nets in the past few days.
- The officials are currently conducting checks for the banned purse seine nets in various coastal districts, including Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari.
- Tamil Nadu, which has 13 coastal districts, has banned purse seine nets.
- Variants of purse seine nets are also banned as these nets kill marine species beyond the intended target.
- AIADMK legialature party leader A.Anbazhagan urged the government to impose a ban on the use of purse seine nets (Surukku Valai) for fishing in the union Territory.
- The Union Government had already banned the use of purse seine nets and several states including Tamil Nadu implemented it.
Purse Seine Fishing:
- Seine fishing (or seine-haul fishing) is a method of fishing that employs a fishing net called a seine, that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and its top edge buoyed by floats.
- Seine nets can be deployed from the shore as a beach seine, or from a boat.
- Boats deploying seine nets are known as seiners. Two main types of seine net are deployed from seiners: purse seines and Danish seines.
- Fishermen use purse seines to catch species that gather in large groups or “schools” in surface or mid-ocean waters – including sardines, anchovy, herring, mackerel, menhaden, squid, and tuna.
- Purse-seine fishing in open water is generally considered to be an efficient form of fishing.
- It has no contact with the seabed and can have low levels of bycatch.
- MSC certified fisheries using purse seines must ensure that they leave enough fish in the ocean to reproduce. This can be achieved by targeting schools of adult fish and using a mesh size large enough to allow smaller fish to swim free.
- Purse seines can also be used to catch fish congregating around fish aggregating devices (FADs). This fishing method can result in higher levels of bycatch, making it harder for these fisheries to achieve MSC certification.
- The other forms of fishing are Gillnet fishing, Pelagic trawl fishing.
- Floating object purse seining, which utilizes Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), is not any better.
- The fish aggregating devices can have many adverse effects on ocean animals:
- The fish aggregating devices (FADs) attract large numbers of tuna, and in particular large numbers of young tuna that have not yet had the chance to reproduce. This can lead to overfishing of tuna (i.e., catching fish faster than they can reproduce).
- The FADs attract large numbers of other fish and wildlife too, such as mahi-mahi, wahoo, marlins, turtles, sharks, and marine mammals. This is why purse seining around FADs tends to scoop up more non-target species or bycatch compared to free-school purse seining.
- And the FADs themselves are a bycatch hazard. They can entangle vulnerable ocean wildlife, like turtles, sharks, and mammals.
- Scientists are also concerned that the large number of FADs in the ocean today (they estimate there are 50,000 or more!) is disrupting the behavior and movement patterns of tunas and other ocean species.