KOCHI:The All-Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association (AKFBOA) has urged the State Government to abolish the mandatory deposit exacted from fishing boats, and to reduce the registration/licence fee by half.
In a petition submitted to Fisheries and Ports Minister K Babu, the Association pointed out that the fisheries sector had been going through difficult times for the past two years, owing to the dwindling catch along the Kerala coast that pushed the majority of boat operators into debt.
“While the government has imposed a user fee of just Rs 15,000 on fishing boats from the neighbouring states for operating here, the compulsory deposit collected from local boat operators is between Rs 25,000 ad Rs 50,000, which is a gross injustice,” pointed out the petition. “No other state exacts such huge amounts as licence/registration fees. In Maharashtra, the registration fee is just Rs 150 and the licence fee is as low as Rs 500, for three years. The fee for the letter of permit (LoP) issued by the Central Government to operators for fishing upto 100-150 metres is just Rs 10,000, irrespective of the size of the vessel. Also, no compulsory deposit is demanded from them,” stated the Association.
“The LoP allows operators to carry out deep-sea fishing beyond 12 nautical miles - upto 200 nautical miles - for five years. The government should be more considerate towards the local boat operators.
It should reduce the licence fee and revoke the mandatory deposit, considering the distressing conditions existing in the fisheries sector,” pleaded the AKFBOA.