Mostly the catch along the state coastline is juvenile fish which is restricting the growth of the fish population.
Mumbai: Mumbai fishermen have welcomed the recently drafted, Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill, 2019, which transfers power from the states to the Centre, to provide permits to fishermen in the exclusive economic zone between 20 and 200 nautical miles. The fishermen said that the bill would help draft uniform policies for fishermen across all states along the coast and benefit Maharashtra with the conservation measures enlisted therein.
“No Indian fishing vessel shall engage in any fishing or fishing-related activity within the exclusive economic zone of India or the high seas, except with a permit issued by the central government or any authority notified under this Act for fishing, and shall be subject to such conditions and restrictions as prescribed,” read the bill.
For long now, fishermen have been demanding that the number of permits is uniform for bottom trawlers who carry on fishing in the deep seas and purse seine net fishermen.
“In Maharashtra, the stock of pelagic fish like grouper fish, sardine, mackerel, pomfret and pink perch has reduced drastically due to overfishing by bottom trawlers. Mostly the catch along the state coastline is juvenile fish which is restricting the growth of the fish population. The move by the Centre will help regulate overfishing by bottom trawlers,” said Ganesh Nakhwa, president of the Maharashtra Purse Seine Net Fishermen Welfare Association.
Among others, the bill proposes notifying management plans for fishing on a regular basis, related to conservation of endangered species and mitigating pollution. According to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Bombay Duck, found in northern Maharashtra, has declined significantly in the last three years, while Indian mackerel has reduced up to 44 per cent as compared to 2017.
“We hope that the measures and restrictions enlisted in the bill are implemented effectively, as the state has failed to curb overfishing of juvenile fish,” said Damodar Tandel, president of the Akhil Maharashtra Macchimar Kriti Samiti.