PPP in fisheries sector triggers concern

State to convey concern to Centre over National Policy on Marine Fisheries

The Centre’s move to allow public-private partnership (PPP) in the marine fisheries sector has triggered deep concern among the fishermen community and fisheries experts, even as the State government is preparing to convey its reservations to the Centre about the National Policy on Marine Fisheries.

The policy notified on April 28 seeks to rescind the Letter of Permit scheme for foreign vessels to operate in Indian waters. However, it proposes entrepreneurship development, private investment and PPP and adoption of overseas technology to equip the Indian fishing fleet for deep-sea operations.

Fishers organisations see this as a back-door entry for foreign players to enter the Indian marine fisheries sector. A stakeholder meeting convened by the government here last week expressed strong reservations about the move to corporatise the sector.

The State government is also piqued over the Centre’s refusal to address the demands and concerns raised by the State during the policy formulation exercise. Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said most of the issues highlighted by the State had been ignored.

The government had made a pitch for extension of the State’s territorial jurisdiction from 12 to 30 nautical miles and a nationwide ban on juvenile fishing.

It had also demanded a separate Union Ministry for Fisheries and sought inclusion of fisheries in the concurrent list.

Addressing the stakeholder meeting, the Minister said the move to promote private investments and adopt foreign technology for exploitation of deep-sea resources had the potential to hasten the decline of fish stocks, disrupt traditional fisheries and destroy livelihoods. The national policy, she said, was not conducive to the welfare of the fishermen community. Participants in the meeting hailed the thrust on marine biodiversity conservation and the proposal to harness IT and space technology for scientific fisheries management. They welcomed the move to strengthen the monitoring, control and surveillance system for marine fisheries and improve labour conditions on fishing vessels.

But representatives of fishers organisations pointed out that fishers had been ignored by the policy which focussed only on raising the production. Opposing the move to privatize the sector, they sought amendments to the notification.

The Minister said the concerns expressed at the meeting would be communicated to the Centre for corrective action.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:12:27 PM |

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