Deep sea fishing scheme fails to resonate due to need for massive investment

The need for massive investment prevents fishers in coastal districts of central region from deriving the benefit of a vital component of Blue Revolution of the Central Government

Under the scheme, purchase of deep sea fishing boats come with a high subsidy component. However, the emphasis on collateral security for getting a bank loan, uncertainty about return on investment, time taken to hand over the boat and reluctance to foray into deep sea fishing have been impeding factors to avail the benefit.

In Nagapattinam district, where fishing is the mainstay of the local economy, there are only 18 applications for the scheme that offers subsidy to the extent of ₹56 lakh (₹40 lakh from the Centre and the remaining rom the State government) on a total investment of ₹80 lakh. At present, the boats are under construction for 10 applicants.

In Mayiladuthurai district, there is not a single applicant for the scheme due to the requirement of up to ₹24 lakh. Over and above this investment, the fisher availing the utility of the scheme is required to spend an additional ₹40 lakh for infrastructure, nets and manpower, officials say.

“No single fishermen is financially capable of investing such a huge sum and do debt-servicing on a long-term basis,” Kannan, a fisherman of Pazhayar points out.

Fishers also cite concerns about the quality of boats provided for deep sea fishing under the scheme. Most of the vessels are assembled at the Cochin Fishing Yard. There have been complaints from beneficiaries in other coastal districts that the boats are fitted with 140 hp motors against the requirement of 200 hp motors, and that the fitted engines are fuel guzzlers emitting dark fumes.

Comparatively, the State scheme for modernisation of boat entailing an investment of ₹60 lakh with 50% subsidy has found more patronage. Thirteen boats have been provided over the last few years under the State scheme to fishermen in Nagapattinam district, a senior official said.

No district-level target has been fixed for the schemes. "The applicants are scrutinised at the State-level. Even otherwise, there is no point in pressuring unwilling fishermen to apply for the scheme to attain the target. It will only result in defaults in loan servicing," the officials said.

"We create awareness of the Central schemes among the fishermen. However, they are apparently not willing to take any risk," they added.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 6:15:09 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/deep-sea-fishing-scheme-fails-to-resonate-due-to-need-for-massive-investment/article65426819.ece