Tamil Nadu fishermen oppose Sri Lankan vehicles dumping in water; Experts call decision “catastrophic” – The New Indian Express
Express news service
NAGAPATTINAM: Fishermen in Tamil Nadu have opposed Sri Lanka’s initiative to submerge abandoned vehicles in Lankan waters, saying their fishing will also be affected. Indian experts also called the move “irresponsible”.
On June 11, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Navy, submerged 20 degraded and abandoned buses near the island of Delft (“Neduntheevu”) in its northern waters (“Strait of Palk “). This decision was described by Sri Lanka as “to help create an artificial reef conducive to the marine environment”. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu condemned it, saying it would affect their livelihoods.
The June 11 submersion was not the first. Sri Lanka has been abandoning scrapped vehicles for some time. The drop-off points are in Sri Lankan waters. Yet the fishermen of Tamil Nadu are still worried.
“What is the guarantee that vehicles will not drift underwater, travel to Indian waters across the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and land at the bottom of our waters?” We saw the tsunami sweep away such objects for several kilometers and deposit them near our shore in December 2004. Our fishery will be affected. We call on the state government to stop this outrageous measure and save our waters, our coasts and our fisheries, ”said RMP Rajendra Nattar, a representative of the fishermen of Nagapattinam.
Trawling remains the main fishing practice for fishermen in Tamil Nadu, while it is prohibited in Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu fishermen trawl the waters of Coramandel, Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, which Sri Lanka also shares. Trawls can reach intermediate waters and even the seabed. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu fear their trawls will get stuck in submerged and damaged vehicles. They also call the movement against the India-Sri Lanka maritime border agreements (1974 – 1976).
Experts agree with the reasoning behind the concern of Tamil Nadu fishermen. Dr K Murali, Head of Ocean Engineering Department at IIT – Madras, said: “Drift of unsupported objects underwater due to ocean currents is a real phenomenon. The drift of debris from the MH 370 aircraft, which crashed in 2014, is an example of drift induced by ocean currents. The debris drifted for hundreds of kilometers. Natural disasters like tsunamis and cyclones can dramatically increase drift. ”
The government of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry collaborates with institutes such as the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). The abandoned blocks have become “artificial reefs” over the months and foster marine life, the idea Sri Lanka tries to explore through scrapped vehicles. Dr H Mohamad Kasim, a retired senior scientist from CMFRI, said: “We spent a lot of research before deploying reef blocks. We analyzed the conditions of the seabed. Each structure we let loose was only a meter high, weighed nearly a ton, and made of hard concrete. We dropped about 200 permeable, hollow blocks tightly into deeper points. Thus, we have deployed these reefs which and made them resistant to drift or displacement. But, vehicles are not designed in the same way for this purpose. They can be overturned and washed away easily by strong ocean currents due to their structural drawbacks. “
Experts also characterize the vehicle spill as disastrous for the environment and are against “international anti-dumping laws”. Dr S Velvizhi, Director of MSSRF – Fish for All Research Center in Poompuhar, added: “Reefs formed from concrete blocks are harmless to the ecosystem and are favorable to marine life. corrosive metallic materials. Rust in metal is toxic to marine life. The “schools of fish” move indiscriminately in the sea across borders, so the point of metal spill is irrelevant. Our seafood by fishing could thus become toxic. The sea is not a place for irresponsible dumping, especially. “
The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Directorate said The new Indian express that they responded to the Sri Lankan initiative. IAS Director Mr. Karunakaran said: “We have received information about this from various media sources. We urged the state government of Tamil Nadu to bring the cessation of the Sri Lankan initiative to the attention of the Union government. “