The unregulated growth of fishing capacity and inappropriate management systems cannot be continued any further. The development of a system of “co-management” can be a solution which will be based on the cooperation between fishing community, interested stakeholders, research institutions, NGOs and Government departments. Thus village level traditional societies and boat owners groups will be the backbone of this management system. This can be developed using pilot scale experimental systems of management under the Department of fisheries and research institutions.
However, the successful development of co-management system requires huge awareness and capacity building programs for the fishing community and other stakeholders. Care should also be taken to include spatiotemporal resource and environmental patterns (biology, spawning, juvenile grounds and critical habitats) under the umbrella of co-management.
Regulated access, gear controls, and conversions.It is high time to shift the open water fisheries from ‘open access’ to ‘regulated access’ which is very difficult to implement. Restriction of fishing rights to the vessels can be an option for this management plan. Moreover, some of the mechanized vessels can be modified to deep sea vessels. Important gear controls like the ban on pair trawls and ring seines need to be implemented by building community support under strict enforcement framework. The monsoon trawl ban can be made for two months or three months along the coast. Uniform observation of the trawl ban can be recommended for the entire west coast.
Deep sea fishing
Deep sea fishing on the entire west coast of India is a monopoly of south east coast fishermen.It is, in the Bay of Bengal offers a good opportunity for the north coastal districts. The west coast also offers good scope for deep sea fishing beyond the shelf. This scope can be utilized for exploitation shark, tuna, bill fishes, shrimps, cephalopods and other fisheries resources along Goa.
Utilization of fishery advisories
Potential Fishing Zone advisory is the dissemination of areas of fish availability provided by the International Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS) through various collaborating institutes like the ICAR Research Complex for Goa is the nodal organization in Goa. This data is derived on Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) techniques. This is based on the satellite derived Chlorophyll and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) information. The advisories benefit the fishermen with a healthy catch and economic fishing operations.
The benefits for fishermen derived upon using PFZ information are a reduction of searching time, saving fuel, saving human effort and increase in CPUE and average income of the fishermen. In Goa, it is reported that there is a reduction of searching time by 50% for the ring seine fleets. The income generated by fishing in the PFZ was two times higher than the income generated in non- PFZ zones. The commercially important species are more abundant in the PFZ area. The utilization of more refined PFZ information will help the fishermen to divert their efforts towards the fishery rich grounds and improvement in their income.
Goa Fisheries Department may develop some linkages with the Research Institutions to make use of the salient findings from the data collected on the fishery biology of different component species of various exploited fishery resources for fishermen to enable them to adopt responsible fisheries. Nearly 80% of the fish production comes from inshore waters, where due to oversupply and overexploitation it is becoming more and more uneconomical for the fishing craft to operate. It is high time to carry out biological resource enhancement activities such as the deployment of artificial reefs and sea ranching of commercially important species.
Captive breeding and culture of economically important species such as the cobia, pompano, Seabass, mullets can be attempted to improve the production status. An excellent artificial reef habitat can be established near shore areas for attachment of corals and ornamental fishes to popularize the eco-tourism. This can be used by fishermen for fishing, students for education, tourists for snorkeling, SCUBA diving, sports fishing with angles (hooks & line), trap fishing for live ornamental fishes, underwater sightseeing with the help of glass-bottom boats, etc.
Presently, the marine fisheries resources of Goa are showing a fluctuating trend. Most of the resources are getting depleted, and some of the highly commercial resources are already showing negative growth patterns. Moreover, the natural fishery habitats are getting destroyed due to anthropogenic and natural causes along the Goa coast. The destruction caused by trawlers on the demersal fishery resources is very high. Thus, there is a need for the enhancement of the fishery resources through sustainable exploitation and ecological restoration. The management and regulatory framework should be established by the stakeholders under the leadership of Department of Fisheries to sustain the marine fisheries resources.
The monsoon trawl ban is practiced along the Goa coast is an example of the temporal input control mechanism. The implementation of the existing regulatory framework can be done to sustain the fishing activity by traditional and motorized vessels in the inshore waters and by the mechanized units in the offshore waters. Awareness program on sustainable and responsible fishing operations can be given to the fishermen through the research organizations. The awareness and training on the creation of artificial fish habitats and protected areas for the replenishment and conservation of inshore fishery resources can be another strategy. The coastal aquaculture including the marine cage culture can be initiated with the research organizations to divert a portion of the fisher folk from the capture fisheries. This is also strategic approach for the sustainable development.
- Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute, Ela, Old Goa, Goa