Registration brought under the State Fisheries Department

Owners of 600-odd mechanised fishing boats being operated from Visakhapatnam can now breathe easy with the Ministry of Shipping bringing them under the State Fisheries Department for registration.

Following lobbying and persuasion at various levels for several years, the Director-General of Shipping, Mumbai which is the registration authority, has now exempted boats with less than 20 metres length and allowed their registration by the State fisheries authorities.

The earlier practice was to furnish sea worthiness and other certificates from the registered surveyors.

On an average, each boat owner used to spend Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000 per annum to get the certificate for submission to the Mercantile Marine Department.

Reiew meet

The decision to exempt the boats was taken at the recently held 12 annual action plan review meeting of Director-General, Shipping at Mumbai.

“It’s a big relief for us. After several years of fighting, we could achieve it,” Association of Indian Fishery Industries president Y.G.K. Murty told The Hindu. The exemption from registration through Mercantile Marine Department for all the motorised fishing vessels is applicable for all the coastal States.

Due to rigorous process involved, only half of the mechanised boats were able to get the licence from DG-Shipping and others were managing with provisional licences.

“We are very happy over the development. In fact, mechanised boats with a length of 12 to 16 metres were allowed to get registration with the port authorities at Kakinada and Nizamapatnam whereas the Visakhapatnam Port had declined to do so over a decade ago. After which all of us were brought under the control of DG-Shipping,” said Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, president of the Visakha Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association.