Visakhapatnam: The Andhra Pradesh fisheries department has banned the use of purse seine ring nets in the Bay of Bengal with immediate effect to protect traditional catamaran fishermen and mechanised boat owners.

The joint director of fisheries, Dr. K. Phani Prakash, in a release on 17 December said a recent survey found that 83 mechanised boats have been using purse seine ring nets in the district. Except for two boats, the department has banned the 81 boats from using the ring nets. He said mechanised boats fishing within 8 km from the shore were also banned to protect the interest of the traditional fishermen. He said the use of ring nets and fishing in close range has been creating tension among the fishermen leading to the breakdown of law and order.

Issuing guidelines, the joint director said boats using less than half-inch nets would not be allowed to fish as per the AP Marine Fisheries Regulation Act 1995. Boats should not venture into the sea without registration and license, he said. Dr. Prakash warned the fishermen that the registration and license of boats would be immediately cancelled without notice and no benefits and subsidies would be given if they violated the guidelines. In case of any clashes, those with the ring nets would be held responsible, he added.

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