The Sea Food Exporters Association of India (SEAI) has opposed the January 18 notification of the department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture for operation of deep sea fishing vessels that asks the Indian entrepreneurs to obtain letter of permission for fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of India.
“If this (notification) is implemented, I am sure, it will be last nail on the coffin,” Moulana Ibrahim, SEAI President - Goa, wrote to the Chairman, Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA)
He has pleaded before the MPEDA to take steps to prevent the implementation of the scheme to save the fishing community and industry.
Ibrahim, who is also the authority member of MPEDA, has questioned, whether the decision is unilateral and stakeholders have been consulted or not.
He mentioned that higher commercially important species have disappeared from the West Coast and the exporters are depending on trash and lower species like Pink Perch, Sardines, Lizard fish, Ribbon fish etc and the peak operation too has reduced to less than three months. Similarly, the processors in the East Coast are entirely depending on aquaculture for their exports and the sea catch is negligible.
“The disappearance and decline has started since ‘80s with the introduction of Chinese Deep Sea joint venture vessels and the situation has worsened for last 2 years when Mangalore, Malpe and Kerala fishermen resorted to bull trawling with Chinese made high speed engines ranging from 350 to 600 HP,” wrote the regional president.
“The new policy of the Central government has already proved more destructive in 80s,” said he.
Expressing similar concerns, Gorachand Mohanty, President, SEAI – Odisha said that it is a serious matter and government should consider it. It may be noted that EEZ is the area beyond and adjacent to the territorial waters and the limit of such zone is two hundred nautical miles from the baseline. The sea catching has decreased by 60 per cent compared to last year in volume due to and the new policy , if implemented, will spell disaster for the entire seafood industry, Ibrahim told Business Standard.