Experts’ committee calls for three-tier, participatory fisheries management

An extension of the annual ban on trawling, as recommended by an experts committee that went into the benefits of the more than 25-year-old practice, will be carried out only after evolving a consensus among all the stakeholders in the marine fisheries sector, said Minister for Fisheries K. Babu here on Saturday.

The Minister said that this was a sensitive issue that needed to be looked at from all angles.

The expert committee, chaired by K.A. Sairabanu, additional Director of Fisheries, has recommended that trawling ban be split into two phases for a total length of 60 days.

The reasoning is that dividing the ban period between June-July and October-November will allow different commercially important species to spawn undisturbed. Different stakeholders have not been on the same page on the issue of extending trawling ban or splitting it up into two phases. Mr. Babu, speaking at the official release of the study here, said that there was no disagreement among the stakeholders on the conventional trawling ban. He appealed to the stakeholders to study the recommendations and to voice their opinion.

He said that this year’s trawling ban, starting on the midnight of June 14 and extending up to July 31, will be strictly implemented.

Ms. Sairabanu, who handed over the report to the Minister, said that one of the significant recommendations of the study group was that marine fisheries be managed under a three-tier participatory model involving NGOs and the Village Fisheries Council at the ground level and State Fisheries Council at the top with District Fisheries Council coming in between.

The study has called for overhauling the entire gamut of practices and laws in the marine fisheries sector. It has called for changes in fisheries monitoring practices; in registration and licensing of fishing; fisheries management; and regulation of destructive gears.

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