: The two-day conference of fisheries ministers of southern states began at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute here Saturday with a call to maintain the sustainability of marine resources through effective intervention of the union government.
"The Kerala government plans to introduce new schemes to enhance the skills and capabilities of traditional fishermen to undertake and popularise deep sea fishing. But assistance from the Union government is required to ensure that this plan materialises," he said.
The Chief Minister sought the Centre's intervention to develop a holistic plan for the utilisation of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) resources, taking into consideration the requirements of coastal states and Union Territories.
In a bid to resolve the issue of over-exploitation and inter-state conflicts, Vijayan suggested that the Centre, the states and Union Territories act together to agree upon the management policies and measures for a sustainable utilisation of living resources in the EEZ.
Explaining the strategy to bolster deep sea fishing, he said the government also intends to modernise the existing indigenous deep sea fishing fleet, introduce new indigenous deep sea fishing vessels through fishermen's' cooperatives and Self Help Groups and provide on board training and linkages to fishermen to boost markets and exports.
"Steps will be taken to ensure that such initiatives comply with the international regulations relating to fishing in the EEZ and beyond, Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister stressed the need for collective thinking and formulation of common strategies among states and Union Territories for the effective and sustainable growth of fisheries sector in every region.
He also said that the Centre should take actions for providing legislative support to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of the traditional fishermen are not adversely impacted by developmental activities.
Kerala fisheries minister J Mercykutty Amma,who presided, expressed concern over the National Marine Fisheries Policy (NMFP), saying she believes that it pushes for private investments in deep sea fishing and allows public-private partnership (PPP) in the marine fisheries sector.
"The state is of the firm view that instead of the PPP model, the traditional deep sea fishermen must be trained and equipped to undertake deep sea fishing through fisheries cooperative societies", she said.
She suggested a uniform trawling ban during the South West monsoon period all along the West Coast.
However, the minister made it clear that traditional fishing craft and modified traditional crafts should be permitted for fishing during the ban period.
Fisheries ministers and senior officials from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are attending the meet.
The two-day conference will also host a special stakeholder meet on Sunday in which representatives of fishermen and seafood exporters will attend.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)