Fisheries :: Fishing Methods

Fishing methods

One of the limiting factors in the development of the pole and line fishing is the availability of live baits. Live bait fishes are used for chumming and attracting the tuna shoals. Live baits are essential for operation of the pole and line fishery. These fishes caught from the reefs and lagoons and kept in live condition in special region of the boats for use at the time of capture. There are 21 species of live baits available in the Lakshadweep waters, of which over a dozen species are normally used for fishing. The most common are Spratelloides delicatulus, S.japonicus, Apogon sangiensis, A. savayensis and Chromis tematensis.

The major fish landing centres are in the islands of Agatti, Suheli, Minicoy, Bitra and Androth. With the introduction and gradual increase in the number of the mechanized fishing vessels, the marine yield has been steadily increasing to about 10,000 tonnes annually. The highest landings are in Agatti, which on an average contributed to 31%, followed by Minicoy (17%), Suheli (14%), Kavarati (8%), Androth (8%), Bitra (6%), Kiltan (6%), Chethlath (5%), Amini (2%), Kadamath (2%) and Kalpeni (1%). Although the potential for tuna alone is over 50,000 tonnes, the current yields are too small in contrast to those from Maldives (148,000 tonnes) and Sri Lanka (27,000 tonnes).

The major species landed from the islands are K. pelamis (86%), T.albacares (12%) and E. affinis (2%). The traditional pole and line fishing accounts for over 97% of the catch followed by troll lines. For the past 15years, about 300 boats have been operating the pole and line for tuna in the islands. These boats of 25 to 35 feet OAL conduct single day fishing trips, sometimes operating two trips per day during the peak season.

Larger boats with higher capacity can not be introduced because of the shallow nature of the lagoons. The CPUE and mean sizes have remained more or less steady over the past many years. Tuna landings in Androth have increased since 1994 after the introduction of drift gillnetting and fishing in distant grounds such as Elikalpeni Bank. FishAggregating Devices (FADs) were introduced on experimental scale in the lagoons and open seas in 2002. The data buoys for Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiments installed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology, which are 16-26 nautical miles from Minicoy and Kavaratti aggregate young tuna, which the fishermen find convenient to locate using GPS and attractive to operate fishing gear because of assured catch.


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