Kochi: Scientists from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have found a large collection of highly prized red squids in the Arabian sea. According to them, there are 6.3 lakh tonnes of squid in the deep seas within India’s maritime boundary about 100-150 nautical miles from Kerala. The scientists believe that another squid collection twice as large was in the nearby area.

However, fishermen from Kerala are unable to tap this resource. The squid collection is easily accessible from Kochi, Mangalore and Goa ports. The squids live in depths of around 3,000 feet. But they come up at night and can be caught with the help of powerful lights. However, the central government has banned fishing using powerful lights. This is cited as the major obstacle preventing the fishermen from catching the squids.

In Kerala, restrictions on the size of boats and capacity of engines has made it difficult for fishermen to venture into such distances in the sea. This is another factor hindering the fishermen from coming ashore with a good catch.

There are reports of ships from China, Japan and Taiwan catching large amounts of squid from the Arabian sea near the Indian maritime boundary line. These ships operate from Myanmar.

“CMFRI scientists had given reports on different methods and types of boats that can be used catch squid. We hope that Kerala will make use of it,” said Dr Suni Muhammad of CMFRI.

However, boat owners said that they and the fishermen were helpless unless the government relaxed restrictions.

The central government must conduct a thorough investigation into why we are unable to tap into such marine resources, said state boat owner’s association general secretary Joseph Saviour Kalappurakkal.