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Centre clarifies issue of fishing ban during breeding period

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday has cleared the speculation about the issue of ban of fishing during breeding period.

  • The UPA Government, in August 2013, had constituted an Expert Committee under the chairpersonship of Dr Meena Kumari, and the Committee in its report has suggested that fishing by foreign vessels or through Joint ventures may be considered to tap un-utilized fishery resources available in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) till the requisite capacity is developed in our country. However, the present Government has thoroughly rejected the above suggestion after consulting the Ministers and senior officials of all coastal States.
  • To ban fishing within 12 nautical miles is subject of the State Governments, which is imposed in the interests of the livelihood of fishermen. The Fishing ban of different periods have been imposed by the coastal State Governments since last many years or say decades; For example, West-Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala impose ban of 47-days (applicable from 1988-89); in Odisha it is 60 days (applied since 2000); Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa impose ban of 67 days (effective from 1989-90) and Daman & Diu are imposing ban of 75 days, whereas in Karnataka it is applied for 57 days.
  • A meeting held on March 18, 2015 by the Union Agriculture Minister with the ministers / officials of the coastal State / UT Governments and it was unanimously decided to have same date for the start of fishing ban in the East and West Coast. It was agreed during the meeting that in the East-coast states the ban will commence from April 15, while in the west-coast the fishing ban will be implemented from 1st June. However, within their territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, the States will decide their own fishing ban “period” and applicability of fishing ban on “type of boats” as per their own convenience.
  • As far as the fishing ban in the area of EEZ (beyond 12 nautical miles) is concerned, it was earlier applied for 47 days period. However, it was not matching with the ban period of different states, and states were also implementing different fishing ban in their waters. Because of the gap in between the fishing ban periods of different states and EEZ, the boats of one state were entering into the waters of another states and thereby causing disputes. Considering above situation, it was decided that a uniform ban of 61 days will be applied in the area of the Indian EEZ (beyond 12 nautical miles). The above proposal was agreed by all the coastal states/UTs except Kerala. However, it is also a fact that Kerala, itself had previously applied the fishing ban of 61 days during 1988, and ban of 67 days during 2006 in its territorial waters.
  • The fishing ban has not been imposed for the first time or by the current Government only, but it has been imposed over the past two decades, with the motive to ensure conservation of fish during its breeding-period, so that fishermen can get the maximum benefit. Otherwise, the fish productivity will be decrease, and the damage will be caused mostly to the traditional fishermen. Fishing ban is imposed during the monsoon-season, and as the sea becomes turbulent, the fishing ban is necessary to protect life of the fishermen.
  • Fishing Ban in the EEZ has been increased from 47 days to 61 days based on the recommendation of a Technical Committee of scientists that was constituted under the Chairmanship of the Director, CMFRI, Cochin. The said Committee was also formed during May 2013, i.e., at the time of UPA Government. The Committee in its report has recommended for fishing ban in the East Coast from April 15 till June 14 (61 days), and from June 1 to July 31 (61 days) in the West Coast. During the meeting held on March 18, 2015, all the coastal states/UTs (except kerala) have given their consent for above recommendation. However, Kerala was of the opinion to impose fishing ban of 47 days.
  • The central government is allowing foreign fishing ships is completely untrue. Whereas, it was a Committee constituted during UPA that has suggested to allow foreign vessels, which has not been considered by the NDA Government. No foreign fishing vessel is allowed in Indian waters. Besides, in case, any foreign vessel is found engaged in illegal fishing in the Indian waters, the Indian Coast Guard is taking strict action against such vessel and it is punished as per the law, which includes seizure of foreign vessel(s) and arrest of its crew members.

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