Goa government admits to drop in fish catch

Panaji: The Goa government on Friday admitted to a drop in fish catch this year in the state on account of a decline in the haul of sardines. "A shortfall is observed for the season from July 2015 to June 2016 in marine fish catch production. The main reason for the shortfall is due to the reduction in the catch of oil sardines," Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado told the assembly. According to statistics tabled in the assembly by the fisheries ministry, while 80,849 tonnes of sardines were caught in 2014, the catch dropped to 57,270 tonnes in 2015. The provisional figures for the sardine catch in 2016 is 6,481 tonnes. Furtado also said that one of the measures taken to arrest the drop in fish catch is the decision to ban LED fishing. "The department has requested the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) to carry out impact studies of LED on the fisheries resources. The order banning the use of LED lights in territorial waters of Goa has already been issued on May 12, 2016," Furtado said. Fishing with the help of LED lights, attracts entire schools of fish with the help of its powerful glow underwater, but experts claim that the practice fosters indiscriminate fishing, which would eventually lead to a fish famine in the waters off Goa. While Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country, the state's Indo-Portuguese cuisine, especially sea-food is also a popular draw for tourists.