Posted June 2, 2020
The vessel, Bhagvati Prem, has facilitated growth of marine life by breaking rough waves, they say
Notwithstanding environmentalists and experts concern over the continued stay of dredging vessel Bhagvati Prem on Surathkal beach, fishermen in the region want the vessel to stay put.
Though it may seem strange to those staying off the marine environment, fishermen have a reason behind their argument. None of the traditional fishermen who were picking up day’s catch between Surathkal and Panambur beach said they were troubled by the beached vessel when The Hindu visited the stretch.
A large sand bar, approximately measuring 100 ft by 200 ft, has come up on the beach-side of the vessel after its beaching by New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) on October 28, 2019. The sand bar appears to have become a safe landing place for traditional fishermen, who venture into the sea in their small boats. Fishermen who feared their boats might get damaged at a time when Bhagvati Prem was beached last year, now say they have no problem with its presence.
Explaining the rationale behind their changed approach, Yatish Baikampady, CEO of Panambur Beach Development Project, said the beached vessel has been facilitating the growth of marine life around it.
The stagnant vessel that is pretty large (114 mt long and 21 mt wide) smoothens rough sea waves around it thereby forming a calm pool of water. This encourages marine life, including fish, to grow. Fishermen would naturally be happy to get good catch, he said.
Such growth of marine life was also being witnessed around another dredging vessel Tridev Prem that sank 2.5 nautical miles off NMPT on September 3 last, Mr. Baikampady noted.
Fishermen have been getting a good catch from the location.
The presence of the vessel could also encourage tourism in the region when things become normal after COVID-19, he said, adding the coastline may not get altered drastically with its presence. Fishermen, however, were against in-situ breaking of the beached Bhagvati Prem, Mr. Baikampady said. Whoever buys the vessel in the auction being planned by NMPT should tow away the vessel. In-situ breaking of the vessel would result in multiple damage to the coastal eco-system as well as social life, he added.