The Federation of Indian Fishery Industries (FIFI) has asked the Union Government to set up a separate ministry for fisheries.

Stating that the industry was suffering a lot as it had been made part of the Ministry of Agriculture, in separate memoranda to the officials, FIFI delegation led by its president Y.G.K. Murthi called on newly appointed Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department Gokul Chandra Pati recently in Delhi seeking a separate ministry.

The delegation later met Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj to seek her support for carving out a separate ministry and put pressure on the government to concede their just demands.

FIFI delegation sought extension of fishing conservation period to ensure better catch and supply of duty-free diesel to all the fishing boats by de-linking it from the condition that it would be given to only fishermen having BPL cards.

During their interaction with Mr. Pati, the delegation stated that increase in fishing ban period from 47 to 62 days uniformly in both east coast and west coast.

“The fish catches have drastically come down in both the coasts. The catches of some of the species are drastically affected, due to pollution, excess fishing and increased fishing effort and destruction of the critical habitat by the destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling,” Dr. Murthi said.

He said the Bombay Duck and pomfret catches had come down by 55 per cent in the west coast, due to indiscriminate and excess fishing. Similarly the catches of hilsa, popular among Bengalis had come down by 35 per cent, prawn by 40and silver pomfret by 80 per cent the east coast, he said.

He also asked the government to call for a joint meeting of all the stakeholders from the nine maritime States and four Union Territories along with their respective commissioners of fisheries and also the Coast Guard, before arriving at a final decision, on the extension of the fishing ban period.

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