Kerala Chief Minister urges Centre’s support to boost deep sea fishing
The Chief Minister sought the Centre’s intervention to develop a holistic plan for the utilisation of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) resources, taking into the consideration of the requirements of coastal states and Union Territories.
The two-day conference of fisheries ministers from south Indian states, the first of its kind in history, has got underway here at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) with a serious call to maintain the sustainability of marine resources through the effective intervention of the Union government.
Inaugurating the conference, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged the Centre to provide "liberal assistance" to boost deep sea fishing by equipping traditional fishermen. "Kerala government plans to introduce new schemes for enhancing the skills and capabilities of the traditional fishermen to undertake and popularise deep sea fishing, but assistance from the Union government is required to materialise this plan", he said.
The Chief Minister sought the Centre's intervention to develop a holistic plan for the utilisation of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) resources, taking into the consideration of the requirements of coastal states and Union Territories. In a bid to resolve the issue of over-exploitation and inter-state conflicts, Mr Vijayan suggested that the Union government and the states and the Union Territories act together to agree upon the management policies and measures for a sustainable utilisation of living resources in the EEZ.
Explaining the state government's strategy to bolster deep sea fishing, Mr Vijayan further said that the government also intends to modernise the existing indigenous deep sea fishing fleet, introduce new indigenous deep sea fishing vessels through fishermen cooperatives and self-help groups, provide onboard training and linkages to the fishermen to boost markets and exports. "Steps will be taken to ensure that such initiatives comply with the international regulations relating to fishing in the EEZ and beyond.
The Chief Minister stressed the need for a collective thinking and formulation of common strategies among the states and Union Territories for the effective and sustainable growth of fisheries sector in every region.
He also said that the Centre should take actions for providing legislative support to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of the traditional fishermen are not adversely impacted by developmental activities.
In her presidential address, Kerala fisheries minister J Mercykutty Amma expressed her concern over the National Marine Fisheries Policy (NMFP), believing that it pushes for private investments in deep sea fishing and allows public-private partnership (PPP) in the marine fisheries sector. "The state is of the firm view that instead of the PPP model, the traditional deep-sea fishermen must be trained and equipped to undertake deep sea fishing through fisheries cooperative societies", she said.
She suggested for uniform trawling ban during the South West monsoon period all along the West Coast. However, the minister made it clear that traditional fishing crafts and modified traditional crafts should be permitted for fishing during the ban period.
Fisheries ministers and senior officials from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are attending the meet.
Mahadev Jagannath Jankar, Minister for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Development, Maharashtra; Malladi Krishna Rao, Minister for Fisheries, Puducherry; Hibi Eden MLA, John Fernandez MLA, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain, K R Jyothilal, Fisheries Principal Secretary and Venkatesapthy S, Director of Fisheries spoke on the inauguration of the conference.
The first day of the conference saw a series of discussions on a slew of areas such as national policy on marine fisheries (NPMF); ban on destructive fishing practices; regulation on fishing gear manufacture and restriction of mesh size (MLS); introduction of minimum legal size to curb juvenile fishing, regulation of fishing vessel construction; prevention of IUU fishing and illegal entry of fishing vessels into the territorial water of other countries; optimising fishing effort; aquarian reforms; a separate fisheries ministry at the Centre; ghost fishing and plastic pollution; climate change and ecolabelling and certification to boost exports.
The two-day conference will also host a special stakeholder meeting on Sunday in which representatives of fishermen and seafood exporters will attend.
The meet is jointly organised by the Fisheries Department, CMFRI, CIFT and KUFOS.