Goa is a state which has undertaken fishing activities since time immemorial. Residents in almost all the coastal villages in Goa, are involved in some type of fishing activity, and the story is no different in Salcete which is blessed with a long coastal belt.Until a few years back, residents in the coastal areas of Salcete were involved in the traditional ways of fishing; they used small boats and even canoes to bring in the daily catch of fish.
However, with a boom in the tourism industry, the fishing activity in Salcete saw a transformation, with those involved in traditional fishing going in for mechanised fishing, by procuring fishing trawlers that ventured far into the seas for fishing. However, these boats do not go deep sea fishing for many reasons.
Trawler owners from Colva, Carmona, Varca, Benaulim, Betul and other areas of the coastal belt informed that no one in the state ventures onto the high seas for deep sea fishing, which was confirmed by the Minister for Fisheries, Mr Joaquim Alemao.
Fishermen from Kerala and Mangalore go in for deep sea fishing.
When an inquiry was made into this aspect of fishing or the lack of it, the small boat and trawler owners, such as Mr Joao Baptista Ferrao from Varca, Mr Sunil Naik from Betalbatim, Mr Piedade Fernandes and Mr Benjamim Silva from Assolna, informed that, although there are big chances of huge catches in deep sea fishing, they do not want to get involved in this as deep sea fishing requires huge fishing boats with the ability to stay out at sea for a week or more.
They said these boats cost too much and they cannot afford the same.However, Mr Joe Cons Rodrigues, a businessman from Benaulim, who owns four fishing trawlers and a hotel at Benaulim, said that though he has a desire to venture into deep sea fishing, he said the proper infrastructure on the shore for such activity is lacking.
He pointed that deep sea fishing can rake in a huge catch and there should be facilities on shore to store this catch.
Are there any such facilities in Goa?, he asks and adds, only if one has the option of exporting this fish, then deep sea fishing becomes viable. Mr Rodrigues felt that in Goa, the fishing jetty at Betul is the best and has the potential to be developed into a good port like the one that is at Malpe in Mangalore. He said such ports encourage fishing activities, including deep sea fishing. He pointed that Malpe has brought prosperity for Karnataka and Betul could do the same for Goa, if developed and provided with the required infrastructure.
Some of the mechanised trawlers have some of the modern facilities to locate the fish, while others cast the net and drag it on the seabed. They said that the boats that are able to go deep sea fishing are equipped with all the modern satellite technology that helps them to locate schools of fish, which ensures a sure catch.
The Minister for Fisheries, Mr Joaquim Alemao, confirming that no one in Goa has ventured into deep sea fishing said that the government is willing to assist anyone who wishes to go into this business. He said his ministry will not hesitate to help any Goan who want to go in for big time fishing business.
He also said that his ministry has been providing proper infrastructure for fishing activities including good jetty facilities.
“My ministry will give support any Goan who is willing to go in for deep sea fishing” he said and added that Goans have talents and can prosper in any field of activity. Progress and prosperity in the fishing industry would bring progress to the state he said.
Mr Benjamin Silva, a boat owner, said that deep sea fishing is mostly mechanical and added further that there is a need for skilled personnel to man these fishing crafts and vessels. He said that the work requires a good knowledge of motor boat engines, electronic controls, and operation of mechanized fishing equipment, including casting and bringing in the nets, mechanically. He also said the fishermen require tenacity, as sometimes they are away at sea for more than a week.
Mr Joao Baptist Ferrao from Carmona said, “Effective deep sea fishing will depend on the availability of specialised technicians like skippers, mates, engineers, engine drivers, wireless operators, gear technicians, shore mechanics, and others. Large dry docks with efficient technicians are required for fast and immediate repairs and maintenance. These facilities are lacking in Goa, along with good ports and large cold storage facilities.”
Boat owners were of the opinion that the Arabian Sea is not properly exploited as far as fishing is concerned and deep sea fishing could be the answer to bringing about a decrease in the escalating fish prices. They also felt that the state could assist in this task.
They informed that the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Ernakulam in Kerala, had carried out a research in this matter and even designed fishing boats, which have obtained excellent results. This can be done in Goa too, said the boat owners.