The provisions of the new Marine Fisheries Management Bill that give the Union government jurisdiction over fishing activity that is legally under the domain of the State government are legally unsustainable, the former Judge of Madras High Court, K. Narayana Kurup, has said.
He was inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Future of Indian Fisheries: Emerging Policy Paradigms' organised here on Friday by the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries of the University of Kerala.
The core of the objections that have come up against the Bill is that fisheries is a State subject and the Maritime Zones of India Act 1976 provides that the territorial waters are under the jurisdiction of the State concerned.
The Bill has been criticised on the ground that it does not take into account the ground realities and the problems of a large section of people who depend solely on coastal fishery resources for their livelihood, Mr. Kurup said.
The fishery reserves should not be thrown open to indiscriminate exploitation by outsiders.
The constitution of a fishing fleet to conserve valuable marine wealth is desirable.
The absence of regulations regarding the size of the craft, gear and engine coupled with indiscriminate trawling by Indian vessels and intrusion by foreign vessels have given rise to problems.
Research has pointed to a need to regulate fishing. Even a moratorium for a period on the building and replacement of mechanised vessels may be imposed to prevent overexploitation.
At the current rate, there is a danger of fish stocks declining to an extent that would render commercial fishing impossible, he said.