The Centre on Wednesday held wide ranging discussions with the Kerala government and other stake holders in the fishing sector with respect to the Marine Fisheries Regulation and Management Bill.
Raising a few concerns over the provisions in the draft Bill, the government is learned to have called for addressing the apprehensions before the bill was finalised. The government was critical that the proposed Bill took away the rights of state governments, which was not good for a federal system of governance.
State Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma raised government’s concerns and out forth the suggestions in a meeting with Central Fisheries Joint Secretary Rajni Rekhri Sibal in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. She was in the state capital for discussions on the Draft Bill.
Later, Rajni Rekhri Siba also met the trade union leaders. Taking to www.kadapuram.com, All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association General Secretary Joseph Xavier said that they had given a representation to the joint secretary on the various provisions in the proposed Bill. “We said that the Bill should only be enacted after wide spread discussions with all the stake holders. We also said that the Bill that was in the pipeline for a long time should be enacted at the earliest,” he said.
Xavier said that they have told the Centre to come up with a separate body/agency for monitoring fishing vessels. “We told the meeting that only a unique Central Agency would be able to manage the vessels and even help in tapping fish resources. This Agency should be given the power to issue licenses,” he said. Another issue that was raised is with respect to having a separate code for fishing vessels.
Meanwhile, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association President Peter Mathias, who was also present at the meeting, said that one of the main issues that were raised was with respect to taking license for fishing in deep sea. “In the proposed Bill, there is a provision that a license of the Centre was needed to fish in deep sea beyond the 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. We demanded for a single license that is applicable for all waters,” he said.
Noting that there were certain practical difficulties in license as proposed by the draft bill, Peter said that a person while fishing in the territorial waters may go beyond the nautical miles in search of fish. At that time, one cannot say that he cannot go that far and he can only go after obtaining license, he said and added that it was not at all practical.
Another proposal that was placed before the centre was that there should be a uniform law for all the states. “We said that the Bill should be enacted in a way that it would help in sustainable fishing,” he said.