Government eyes outside hand to assist ‘Blue Revolution’
NEW DELHI: India will promote big private investments in deep sea fishing and take foreign technological support to realise the full potential of the sector, which supports an estimated four million fishermen and their family members and contributes Rs 65,000 crore annually to the economy.
Billed as the roadmap for a ‘Blue Revolution’, the new national policy on marine fisheries lays emphasis on bringing sustainable utilisation of the fisheries’ wealth from marine and other aquatic resources.
Some of the important features of the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017, include the use of information technology (IT) and space technology for improving the capacities of the fishing community, strengthening the monitoring, control and surveillance system by introducing chip-based smart registration cards for fishermen and their fishing vessels, and training of fishermen to avoid crossing the international marine boundary line (IMBL).
The agriculture ministry had, on April 28, notified the new policy, replacing the 2004 policy that had thus far been guiding the central and state governments in the sector. The new policy will be in effect for 10 years.
The new policy also focuses on maximising fleet-size, mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in production processes, species-specific and area-specific management plans, and spatial and temporal measures for sustainable utilisation of resources. It is aimed at encouraging an integrated approach to fisheries management, besides blending traditional knowledge and scientific business principles.
“Simultaneously, the government will also undertake a review and periodic evaluation of the existing marine protected areas (MPAs),” says the policy, noting that the government would also go for “providing legislative support” to ensure that tenure rights of traditional fishermen are secure and their livelihood not affected by conservation measures.
Though the new policy remains silent on the controversial issue of permits to foreign vessels to fish in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it speaks about considering the “support of overseas technology” for the development of the sector and emphasises on capacity building for deep sea fishing.
It says entrepreneurship development, private investment, public-private partnership and better leveraging of institutional finance for marine fisheries sector will be encouraged.
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES