FISHERMEN who have suffered as a result of reclamation, dredging or dumping projects are to have their compensation increased from the notional value of their catch for one year to that for three years. The Finance Committee yesterday approved the increase, which would give 1,500 vessel owners or operators about $205 million between now and 1995 - about $137,000 each. Under the new plan, owners or operators of vessels less than 15 metres in length will be paid $175.8 million between them, while those with vessels longer than 15 metres will together receive $29.7 million. The effective date for the new allowance will be backdated to April 1 this year, and fishermen hit by the current programme of works will be paid at the new rate. About 200 fishermen operating off Tung Lung Island who were paid the allowances according to the old rate will be among the first to receive the balance in a couple of weeks. Payments to fishermen in other areas would follow soon, officials said. The new payment would be equivalent to about five years' net income for vessel owners or operators after taking into account all expenses, and it was comparable to the statutory compensation for land-based enterprises, officials said. A growing number of fishermen, combined with a contraction in the industry, made it harder for fishermen to re-establish their businesses, they added. It is estimated that the current programme will affect about 27,500 hectares of local inshore fishing grounds for at least four to five years, and about 6,500 hectares is expected to be lost permanently.