Palolem fishing canoes offer dolphin rides

The licences of these fishing must be withdrawn and they not allowed to fish for an entire season. it is only then that they will feel the pinch of doing illegal business.Unless very strict measures are put in place such activities will keep happening.

A few fishing canoesin South Goa‘s tourist hotspot, Palolem, are carrying out adventure sports activities to make a quick buck.

Fisheries department officers from Canacona have reported that the canoes which are to be used solely for the purpose of fishing have substituted angling with dolphin rides for tourists. “We have not issued any permission to these fishing vessels to carry out activities other than fishing. Despite that they have been reported to be involved in tourist activities,” said fisheries director Shamila Monteiro.

One of the Canacona-based fisheries surveyors had recently observed that dolphin rides were being offered by registered fishing canoes. “During an inspection of Palolem beach area, I came across illegal dolphin boat rides using registered fishing canoes without considering safety and security of those onboard at sea,” the Canacona fisheries officer stated in his letter. The canoes charge around Rs 400 per head for the dolphin ride. A group is charged around Rs 2,500 while a big group is asked to pay Rs 4,000.

A single dolphin ride lasts up to an hour and the canoes make anywhere between three to four trips a day.

Seven such canoes have been found engaged in dolphin rides and the coastal security officers in the region have decided to track down the violators

Deeming this kind of activity a security concern, deputy director, fisheries department, Chandrakant Velip, said, “This kind of operation is illegal. After receiving complaints from our officers, we have written to the parties concerned to stop the activity. This is a security concern; we have asked the coastal security police there to ensure that this does not continue.” The security concern is not limited just to the coast but also to the tourists who opt for these rides. While there are a few life jackets on board, it is unclear if the canoes meet safety standards in terms of weight and number of people allowed onboard.

When TOI contacted the Talpona Canacona coastal security police station, they said that their officers have been instructed to patrol the area to ensure there are no violations of this kind.

Present on duty, PI Nerlon Albuquerque, said, “If any such activity comes to our attention, we will submit a report to the department of fisheries following which they are entitled to take action.”