Blue economy plans beset with practical difficulties, say experts

Experts speaking on the proposals contained in the blue economy plans of the Union government called for caution while implementing them as the protection of traditional fishers’ rights and harmonisation of all aspects of the sea are linked to it.

Dr. N.G.K. Pillai, former head of the Pelagic Division of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi, said that blue economy is a concept being discussed since the early 1990s. Developed countries like the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, etc. have embraced the idea, the focus and core of which is sustainability.

However, he expressed concern over the possibility of undeterred quarrying or mining for resources, especially on the Kerala coast, which is rich in rare earth elements.

Dr. Sunil K. Mohammed, former principal scientist and head of the molluscan fisheries and mariculture at CMFRI, said that the idea behind the blue economy proposals was the harmonisation of all aspects of the sea. For instance, he said, shipping activities should in no way infringe on fishing activities. However, this is not the case now in the country. He cited the recent notification of the shipping channel. The channel passes through several fishing grounds off the country’s coast, he pointed out.

He also expressed concern over multiple legislation governing marine resources. For instance, he raised the issue of coastal regulation zone rules and their connection to the blue economy proposals. He felt that every aspect appeared to have been compartmentalised instead of being harmonised.


Veteran fishers’ union leader and convener of the Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedhi Charles George said that blue economy proposals were the first step towards corporatisation of marine resources. He criticised the government for not allowing sufficient time for the public to file suggestions and raise their objections on the draft of the blue economy policy.

Hibi Eden, MP, in a recent letter to the Union Minister for Fisheries Giriraj Singh, had said that there was a “mysterious hurry displayed by the government to curtail deliberations” on the blue economy proposals. The policy, he had said, would have ramifications on the livelihood of the most vulnerable sections of society in the country and called for consultations and discussions on the proposals as the policy raised grave concerns about the future of the fishing community.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 7:34:52 AM |

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