Taking note of opposition in the State’s coastal belt to purse seine net fishing (the large circular net used to catch fish in bulk) by trawlers and mechanised boats, which is harming the business of traditional fishermen in Maharashtra, the government has decided not to issue new licences for purse seine fishing.
The government on Friday announced that the number of existing purse seine net permits will be brought down from 494 to 182.
In addition, purse seine fishing will be allowed only from September to December. The decision is likely to benefit over three lakh traditional fishermen.
As per the new government guidelines, around 12 nautical miles is kept exclusively for traditional fishermen. Use of chemicals for fishing too has been banned.
The government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of VS Somwanshi to study the impact of purse seine net on traditional modes of fishing.
As per the committee findings, purse seine nets not only catch fully grown fishes but even the fishlings, adversely impacting fish population.
“Using these nets in shallow waters during the reproduction period of fishes is posing a serious threat to the fisheries sector,” said the report. Purse seine nets have been in use since 1995 and were allowed for fishing in deep sea. Mechanised boats, however, use it in shallow waters, which is opposed by the traditional fishermen.
Maharashtra has a coastline of 720 km, with 456 fishing villages in seven districts, namely Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratangiri and Sindhudurg.