Wednesday 16 October 2019

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Economy | Fishing

HC cancels trawler licences

 

In retaliation of around 1500 trawlers continuing fishing for the last 12 days in spite of a ban imposed by the court till 15 August, the high court has now suspended licences of all the mechanised boats in Goa while also not permitting them to use the jetties for fishing activity.

Acting on a contempt application filed by Adv Norma Alvares, the environmental activist lawyer, the Panaji bench of Mumbai high court agreed that the basic purpose of allowing breeding and spawning period for the fish would be defeated if fishing continues.

The fisheries department, which was sitting idle all these days claiming that it does not have enough machinery to stop the trawlers from entering the sea, has however now moved into action as per the fresh guidelines issued by the court yesterday.

Besides guarding all the seven jetties spread along 105 kms of coastline by posting gramsevaks and other personnel round-the-clock, the diesel outlets at the jetties have also been instructed not to release a single drop of diesel to any mechanised boat.

"In spite of that it they enter the sea, we will terminate their registration permanently", said U D Sardesai, the fisheries director. He is also asking for assistance of petrol boats from the coast guard and customs since the department has only one such boat.

After the court passed an interim order on 20 July banning fishing activity by mechanised boats till 15 August, the trawler lobby had managed to get a bill passed in the Assembly, fixing the ban period from 1 June to 24 July.

As the bill also contained an obnoxious clause of restraining any court from reviewing the amendment regarding the fishing ban period, governor Mohammed Fazal refused to give his assent to the bill, sending it back to the government.

Though the National Institute of Oceanography had also submitted a report to the court that fish requires spawning period till 31 August as was the practice followed in the past, the fishing trawlers had entered the sea from 25 July, defying the court ban.

In fact a trawler owned by sports minister Francis Silveira was then seized by the Maharashtra government officials off Vengurla coast for illegally entering into their territory. The fishing ban in Maharashtra lasts till 15 August while it is 31 August in Karnataka.

Churchill Alemao, the opposition Congress MLA, along with two other legislators Sanjay Bandekar and Jose Philip D'Souza, all of whom are trawler owners, had led the illegal fishing from 25 July. In fact Alemao had even threatened in front of chief minister Francisco Sardinha to come on the streets if their trawlers were seized.

When contacted today, Alemao however declined to comment on the fresh orders issued by the court. Sources close to the trawler owners however disclosed that they would continue entering the sea without licence, but fishing mainly in Karnataka and Maharashtra territories rather than 12 nautical miles marked for the Goa state.

Though the court has now passed second order to stop fishing, the state advocate general Atmaram Nadkarni strongly opposed the plea by Adv Alvares to immediately seal all the jetties, claiming that it would not be in the interest of the state. The trawlers thus continue to be anchored at the jetties.






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