Agri Business

Uniform fishing law for EEZ soon

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2020

File photo

Fish production tops 134 lt

The government on Tuesday said it is considering a uniform fishing law for sustainable development and management of fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country, Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh informed Lok Sabha.

The bill will be in accordance with the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017, he said.

The government has already drafted a National Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill 2019 which mainly aimed at among other things to ensure responsible and long-term sustainable utilisation of marine fish resources, monitoring, control and surveillance, safety and security of fishermen at sea and protect livelihood of small and traditional fisher people. The proposed bill is to regulate fishery activities between 12 nautical miles and 200 nautical miles.

In a written reply to a question from Congress MP from Kerala Shashi Tharoor, Singh said the government received a memorandum from All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association regarding presence of foreign fishing vessels in India’s EEZ.

At present, the respective State Marine Fishing Regulation Acts (MFRA) protect and regulate the fishery resources in the territorial waters, that are up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, while the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1981, or MZI Act, regulates fishing by foreign fishing vessels in the maritime zones of India.

The intruding foreign fishing vessels attract fines and penalties for violations prescribed for fishing without licence and in contravention of the provisions of the MZI Act and the Rules made there under, the Minister said.

Replying to another question, Singh said fish production in the country increased by 6.6 per cent to 134.22 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2018-19, as against 125.9 lt in 2017-18, as per the provisional estimates.

Andhra Pradesh, with a combined marine and inland fish production of 39.92 lt, not only remained the top fish producing State, but also increased its production by 15.7 per cent over the previous year's 34.50 lt. West Bengal, which is ranked the second, increased the production marginally to 17.70 lt. Significantly, Odisha pipped Gujarat to become the third biggest fish producing State with 7.33 lt. At 7.30 lt, fish production in Tamil Nadu also surpassed that of Gujarat which slid 13 per cent to 7.25 lt over 2017-18.

PTI adds: Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying PC Sarangi also told the Lok Sabha that the government is seriously contemplating setting up a platform for fish exports that would eliminate middlemen.

At least three members from Kerala raised issues related to fishermen during the Question Hour.

Speaker Om Birla asked the minister to call a meeting of members from coastal areas to discuss issues.

Sarangi also said the government is seriously contemplating a platform for exporting fish without middlemen and that revolutionary steps are being taken to increase income of fish farmers.

During Question Hour, Sarangi informed the House that advisories are continuously issued to fish farmers and exporters, among others, that they should not use hazardous chemicals for preserving fish.

Published on February 11, 2020

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