CHENNAI: A go dated September 27, 2016, which prohibited fishing by mechanised fishing vessels, motorised country crafts, using mechanised fishing techniques in a radius of 5 nautical miles around potential nesting and breeding sites of sea turtles, identified by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and Department of Forests in the coastal areas for four months from January 1 every year, has been challenged in Madras High Court.
The first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, before which the PIL from Thenindhiya Meenavar Nalvazhvu Sangam came up for hearing on Wednesday, ordered notice to the authorities, returnable by November 28. It also directed that the proceedings be brought to the notice of the amicus curiae by both the counsel.
In his PIL, association president V Sankar submitted that the said GO prohibits fishing in almost the entire sea coast of the State, adversely affecting the poor fishermen as well as their families numbering several lakhs. The GO was based on a suo-motu PIL following news report on turtle deaths. Deep sea fishing vessels were alleged to be the culprits which had butchered 35 turtles, according to the news report and based on that, this court had directed action against the erring fishermen. Country boats, catamarans and traditional boats, using small motors, were incapable of doing any trawl fishing or bottom fishing using rollers or by using purse siene or other banned fishing methods. Therefore, the prohibition directly affected their life and livelihood, he contended.