Agitation against foreign vessels in Indian waters; PM asked to intervene

In the wake of government going slow on taking action against foreign vessels milking the fish wealth in Indian’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the fishing boat owners have decided to go for a nationwide agitation in the coming days. Apart from this, they have also decided to fight the issue legally.

A meeting of the All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association (AKFBOA) on Tuesday at Kochi took a decision in this regard. “When the foreign vessels are fishing illegally in the Indian waters defying all laws, our fishing boats are being restricted from fishing. We demand that stringent measures are taken against those foreign vessels that fish against the existing rules in the Indian waters,” AKFBOA general secretary Joseph Xavier told after the meeting.

He also said that they were trying to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coming days. “Already we have sent a representation to the Prime Minister regarding the unhealthy ways in which foreign vessels are fishing in the Indian EEZ.

 Xavier said that the date of the agitation would be decided after the three zonal conventions at Kollam, Kochi and Kozhikode. “All the conventions would be completed by July 18. The Associations general Body meeting is scheduled on July 18, where the final date of the agitation would be decided,” Joseph Xavier said.

Noting that the Kerala government had imposed much restriction on fishing, he said that the state government had increased the licensing fees of fishing boats beyond the 12 nautical miles. “This law is only in Kerala while other states have all relaxed the fees. As such we demand the Centre to come up with uniform fees, rules and regulations,” he said.  

It was on July 7 that ten Chinese fishing vessels sought shelter at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra due to Cyclone Vayu, which has exposed that foreign vessels were fishing illegally in the Indian waters. On this incident of Chinese fishing vessels in the Indian waters, Xavier alleged that the government was silently facilitating the foreign boats to fish in the Indian EEZ.

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