KERALA

Registration must for fishing boats

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Oct. 28. A series of steps including making registration of fishing boats mandatory have been recommended to end the dispute over landing of fish in the fisheries harbours of Kerala by fishing boats from neighbouring States.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting with MPs and MLAs from the coastal belt at the Guest House here today, the Fisheries Minister, K.V. Thomas, said the meeting approved the seven proposals recommended by a committee headed by the Director of Fisheries, E. Ayappan, set up to draft the fisheries policy.

The Minister said the proposals, which were cleared by the meeting, would be discussed at the Cabinet sub-committee concerned on Wednesday before being taken up by the Cabinet this week.

Prof. Thomas said only those fishing boats registered under Section 11 of the MPEDA Act of 1972 and the KMFR Act would be allowed fishing. The registration number or identification mark will have to be displayed on the boat. Only the boats that follow the norms will be given permission for fishing and landing in the harbours.

The details of migration should be informed to the department. The specifications regarding the boat and details of the employees should be made available to the department. Those who do not remit the contribution to fishworker's welfare fund will not be allowed to operate mechanised boats.

Fishing using explosives will be banned. The report regarding such activities in Kochi and Munambam harbours will have to be submitted by the officials concerned within one month. The details regarding other harbours and fish landing centres will have to be submitted within three months.

A welfare committee has also been mooted for each fishing harbour to solve the problems being faced, through discussions.

The Minister said a meeting would be convened in Kochi on Friday to normalise the situation in Kochi harbour. He urged all concerned to cooperate with the steps being taken by the Government to maintain peace in the coastal belt of the State.

Pointing out that the increase in number of fishing boats and lack of adequate price for the fish were the root cause of the problem, the Minister said the Matsyafed had been asked to intervene in the market. The Matsyafed has financial backing for market intervention and the Government will support it.

The meeting was attended by the Local Self-Government Minister, Cherkalam Abdulla, the Minister for Welfare of Backward and Scheduled Communities, M.A. Kutappan, the Varkala Radhakrishnan and V.S. Sivakumar, both MPs, 11 MLAs and officials.

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