Kochi | In a significant decision, the Centre has said it was not implementing the recommendations made in the report submitted by a panel headed by B Meenakumari on deep sea fishing, which were being opposed by the fisherfolk.
Seeking to alleviate the concerns expressed by MPs from Kerala and other coastal states, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh also said foreign vessels would not be allowed to fish in Indian waters.
He said this in a letter to senior Congress MP Mullappally Ramachandran, who had expressed concerns related to implementation of recommendations made by the Expert Committe headed by Meenakumari. The Meenakumari guidelines issued by the Centre in November last year deal with issues including conduct of fishing operations in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone and imposition of fishing ban during monsoon.
It is informed that the guidelines issued on 12th November, 2014 for fishing operations in the EEZ do not allow foreign vessels to fish in the Indian waters and there is no policy to allow any foreign vessels to fish in our waters, Singh said in his letter to Ramachandran today. With regard to recommendations made in the report submitted by the Expert Committee headed by Dr B Meenakumari, it is informed that the said recommendations are not being implemented, the Minister said.
Singh said the duration and dates of uniform fishing ban in the Indian EEZ beyond territorial waters were decided with the concurrence of majority of states and Union Territories obtained during a consultation meeting of chief ministers of coastal states convened by the Agriculture Ministry. He also noted that the traditional non-motorized fishing boats have also been exempted from the purview of uniform fishing ban in the Indian EEZ via an order issued by the Ministry in June this year.
Kerala has gone against the Centre’s 61-day uniform fishing ban, which came into effect on June 1. Fisheries Minister K Babu has said that as in previous years, it would be in force in Kerala for 47 days from 15 June to 31 July. Singh said the Government was committed to ensuring sustainable use of country’s marine resources and safeguard and ensure the livelihood concerns of Indian fishermen.
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