Acceding to the demands of the fishing community, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has agreed to drop or modify many provisions of the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2010 notification.

Chairman of the National Fish workers Forum (NFF) Matanhy Saldanha told The Hindu here on Friday that the draft notification, brought out in September 2010, had drawn the ire of the fishing communities for its failure to reverse the liberal permissions that were provided for industries by the much amended CRZ notification of 1991 that was currently in vogue.

Mr. Saldanha disclosed that the Minister for Environment Jairam Ramesh, during the second round of interactions with NFF representatives in New Delhi on Wednesday, announced that the new notification would come out in the first week of January after making the modifications agreed upon. In a significant policy pronouncement, he also agreed that the Ministry would start working on replacing the notification with an Act of Parliament.

According to Mr. Saldanha, while recognising that some important differences remain, the Minister agreed to many of the fishing community demands.

The former Goa Tourism Minister said that the provisions for housing for fishermen were also felt to be grossly inadequate. Though the draft notification came in the wake of a series of public consultations in all coastal States, most of them attended by the Minister of Environment, the fishing communities strongly felt that their views were not properly reflected in the draft.

The coast-wide mobilisation against the draft notification under the leadership of the NFF on October 29 found significant support from political leaders and State governments, notably Tamil Nadu and Kerala.