Sunday 15 September 2019

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Economy | Fishing

HC directs centre for uniform fishing ban

 

The Goa bench of Mumbai high court here has directed the central government to fix a uniform period for fishing ban in the sea, for all the states, to avoid confrontation and allow breeding period for the fish.

Disposing off a public interest litigation filed two years ago, the local bench has however exempted traditional fishermen – known as ‘ramponkar’ here – from the ban period. The ban however covers all kind of mechanised boats fishing in the sea.

Following the court directives, the centre will be now compelled to implement a long-pending decision to impose a uniform ban period for the western coastal states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, besides Goa.

The intrusion of trawlers in the inter-state territory had become order of the day as Karnataka ban lasts till 29 July while Maharashtra allows fishing only after 15 August.

While the trawler lobby in Goa, in collusion with the state government, had managed earlier to prepone the fishing ban period from 15 August to 24 July to catch the rich king prawns, the high court has now once again reversed the decision.

The high court has agreed to the government proposal to ban fishing from 10 June to 15 August or Narlipournima, whichever comes earlier. The National Institute of Oceanography, after calculating the period required for breeding and spawning, had proposed to ban it till 31 August.

Though the ban till mid-August was imposed by the high court even while admitting the PIL in July 2000, the state authorities have found to have been colluding with the trawler owners to defy the ban. In view of this, the court has now imposed several guidelines.

As per these guidelines, licences of all the mechanised boats will be suspended during the ban period. If any trawler is found caught fishing, its licence will be cancelled, allowing no renewal. The authorities are also told to patrol the whole coast, along with the Coast Guard.

The court has also directed to even suspend the insurance during the ban period, allowing no claims except any mishap that occurs at the fishing jetty. All the seven jetties would be sealed, by not allowing any kind of activity of fishing or sale of fish. Even petrol and diesel pumps at the jetty would be sealed.

As the trawler owners had illegally continued fishing during the ban period in the past, the court has now also instructed the authorities to seize the trawlers as well as the vehicles that are found transporting the fish, while cancelling their vehicular licence.






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