Fisheries Minister S. Sarma has said the Inland Fisheries Bill will be taken up for passage in the next Assembly session.

Speaking at the sitting of the House Subject Committee for Fisheries and Forests held at the Collectorate Conference Hall here on Monday, the Minister said the Bill, which envisaged the development, management and conservation of fish species in inland waters and fishery activities would be passed in the next session of the Assembly. The committee held the sitting for discussing the Bill.

The Minister said fish workers and their socieities as well as individuals could submit their suggestions and opinions on the Bill to the House panel till May 31.

The new legislation would replace the existing separate pieces of legislation for the erstwhile Malabar and Travancore-Cochin areas. The new Bill unifies them, he added.

The representatives of various fishermen's organisations who were present at the sitting complained that the fishermen in the State were still using old fishing practices, while those who were using modern fishing practices were destroying the traditional fishing sector.

Crucial concerns

A major demand raised at the sitting was that the authorities should take strong action to stop the practice of fishing using explosives.

The backwaters in the State were being polluted as they were filled with waste from hospitals and slaughtering houses, the committee was told. Efforts should be initiated for cleaning estuaries, it was asked. It was also demanded that fishermen's spouses and children be included as members in the Fishermen Welfare Fund.

The committee members, including Devaswom Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally, MLAs Mathew T. Thomas, P. Vishwan and P. Jayarajan, were present at the sitting.

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