Deep sea fishing policies ‘flawed, reforms needed’

Ch RS Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 24, 2018

India’s deep sea fishing policies are flawed and reforms are required for building a fisheries sector which is just, participatory, sustainable and self-reliant, according to John Kurien, a fisheries expert.

He was speaking on Thursday at a seminar organised by the All-India Fishers and Fisheries Workers’ Federation (AFFWF) on the Meena Kumari Committee recommendations on deep sea fishing.

Kurien remarked that “it is necessary in the first place to understand the differences in the fisheries resources in the tropical zone and in the temperate zone to gain an insight into why western fisheries technologies may not be suitable here.

Active technologies such as trawling will ruin fisheries resources in the tropical zone, especially in countries such as India, and lead to ecological imbalances besides hitting the livelihood of traditional fishermen.”

Not profitable

He said studies commissioned by the government had found that the bulk of the fisheries resources were concentrated in the territorial waters and hardly seven per cent of the resources were in the deep sea.

Again, of the seven per cent only four per cent were high value resources such as tuna fish.

Therefore, he argued, it would not be profitable for foreign trawlers or LoP [letter of permission, issued to foreign ships ostensibly owned by Indians] vessels to fish in the deep sea, and they should not be allowed into Indian waters. Besides, the traditional fishermen had the capacity to exploit the resources even in deep seas.

Kurien said the Meena Kumari committee report contains “a fine analysis of the Indian fisheries sector, but the conclusions are wrong.” Obviously, certain pressures were working on the committee to make such recommendations, he added.


He said the Government of India order issued by joint secretary, Vundru, in November was more harmful than the committee report. The LoP vessels should not be allowed into Indian waters, he said.

His views were echoed by several other speakers at the seminar.

Published on June 18, 2015

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