THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The draft fisheries policy guaranteeing fishermen the right to fix the price for their catch and to sell it received the approval of the Cabinet on Thursday. The policy is expected to put an end to the alleged fleecing of fisherfolk by middlemen. It will also ban the catch, auctioning, sale and distribution of juvenile fishes. The policy has come as a prelude to the Kerala Fish Auctioning, Marketing and Quality Control Bill, which is likely to be presented during the budget session of the Assembly commencing on January 25. The bill is for regulating the sale and auctioning of fish in addition to ensuring its hygiene and quality.
“The policy will help the fishermen from the vice-like grip of middlemen. It will also put an end to the unscientific fish catching practices and ghost fishing,” said J Mercykutty Amma, Fisheries Minister. “As the government is planning to implement the green fisheries project, the Suchitwa Sagaram Sundara Theeram project will be extended to more coastal areas.”The policy proposes to establish an Inter-State Fisheries Council with the help of other states also plans to introduce responsible tourism in the fisheries sector with the help of fishermen.
Limiting the right to catch fish at reservoirs in reserved forests to tribal people; allowing foreign fish species to be bred under strict conditions; exploring biotechnology, nanotechnology and molecular technology in addressing fish diseases; appointing Fish Diseases Surveillance Teams at the state and district levels; to sensitise farmers on aquaculture centres set up at Ayiramthengu in Kollam and Neyyar in Thiruvananthapuram; making the state a centre of ornamental fish sale; launching ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook brands of value-added fish products; raising Fisheries and Ocean Studies University to international standards; limiting the number of boat licences a person could hold; introducing registration system for boat building yards; introducing holographic registration; upgrading health centres in coastal areas to family health centres; establishing fishermen cooperative society in each fishing village; develop inland fisheries; appointing a committee to study the pollution of inland water system.