R. Ramabhadran Pillai

Last date for registration is April 1

Aquaculture authority can

take action

Exporters asked not to use unregistered farm products

KOCHI: Aquaculture farms and hatcheries in coastal zones which are being operated without registering with the Coastal Aquaculture Authority will invite penal action soon.

The authority had asked such farms to register with it before April 1. The registration is being coordinated by the Department of Fisheries of the State government.

The authority is empowered to take action against unregistered farms.

The Export Inspection Council of India is authorised to monitor such farms. Exporters had been asked not to export produce from unregistered farms, officials said.

The Union government had established the Coastal Aquaculture Authority, with its headquarters in Chennai, to regulate coastal aquaculture and to ensure that it does not harm the coastal environment. Coastal aquaculture broadly includes culturing of shrimp, prawn, lobster, crab, fin fish and molluscs.

The authority issues guidelines to improve productivity under sustainable conditions for domestic consumption and export.

The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, passed by the Parliament, encompasses aquatic farming under controlled conditions in ponds and other enclosures in brackish water, but excludes freshwater aquaculture. The Act seeks to control indiscriminate growth of shrimp farms.

The Act was passed in consideration of the fact that India had over 8,000 km of coastline. Vast stretches of land adjoining estuaries, backwaters and lagoons provide enormous opportunities for aquaculture.

The Coastal Aquaculture Authority had issued guidelines on good management practices to be adopted by fish farms. These guidelines cover shrimp farm management with a view to reducing the environmental impact of the wastewater discharged from shrimp farms and treatment of such wastes.

The Act is applicable to a wide spectrum of aquaculture activities. Mangroves, agricultural lands and ecologically sensitive areas should not be used for shrimp farming.