LG VOICES FOR THE INTEREST OF TRADITIONAL FISHERS AND SUPPORT CONSERVATION
In a consultative meeting recently held at New Delhi chaired by the Union Ministry of Agriculture, GOI, with regard to review of (1) Extension of fishing ban period in Indian EEZ (2) Deep sea fishing policy and (3) Draft Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill 2012 attended by Union Minister of Defence, Minister of State for Agriculture, various State Ministers and Senior Executives the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, A&N Islands affectively put forth the constrains and difficulties of local fisher community.
He appraised about the current practice of fishing ban period of 47 days towards Bottom trawling and Shark fishing in the territorial water of A&N Island. Further based upon the spawning season he advocated for shifting of ban period to July – September every year, this period also synchronizes with monsoon. For extending the ban period to 61 days as recommended, the Hon’ble Lt. Governor suggested provision of adequate compensation.
Speaking on Deep Sea fishing policy and Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill 2012 the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, appraised the august gathering about the fragile marine ecosystem around A&N Islands and requested for not permitting the operation of harmful fishing gears around these islands. He also informed that presently royalty is being collected for any fish or fish produce taken out of this union territory by local traders and fishing industry whereas, the Deep Sea / LOP joint venture vessels are exempted of it which is discouraging for the local fishers and the fishing industry in Andamans. He also urged the Department to consider royalty advantage for the UT even for deep sea fishing undertaken in are EEZ around the Islands.
Commenting on Draft Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill 2012 he pointed that the Coast Guard alone is not competent to inspect the fish catch on board deep sea fishing vessels hence, appropriate agency may also be inducted and the vessels may be asked to call at Port for regular inspection and monitoring.
In the best interest of the Union and local fisher community the Hon’ble Lt. Governor also enlightened the apex congregation that the territorial water limit in respect of A&N Islands is yet to be notified; as a consequence, the local fishers are deprived of their legitimate arena. Hence, a review of prevailing status in accordance to Laws of the Seas needs to be initiated and notified at the earliest, which is likely to extend our sovereign right substantially, benefitting the local fishers and protecting the fragile marine ecosystem around A&N Islands.