PARADIP: Fishing activities in the port town came to a standstill on Monday as trawler operators and fishermen community staged a demonstration in protest against the Centre’s decision to allow fishing by foreign vessels in Indian waters.
On the basis of recommendation of an expert committee constituted for ‘Comprehensive Review of Deep Sea Fishing Policy and Guidelines’, the Centre issued an executive order on November 12 last year which allowed foreign vessels to fish in the India Exclusive Economic Zone (IEEZ) .
Protesting the Centre’s decision, members of fishermen associations and trawler operators under the banner of Indian Fishery Federation Industries refrained from fishing activities. They submitted a memorandum addressed to the Union Government to the Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Paradip demanding roll-back of the decision.
The agitators said if the Centre’s decision is implemented, foreign vessels will go for fishing on a very large scale in IEEZ with the help of highly sophisticated nets and fishing equipment. This will lead to decline in fish population in the State’s territorial water and put the livelihood of fishermen and trawler owners at stake, they added.
The State territorial water stretches upto 12 nautical miles where local fishermen are allowed to go for fishing, while India’s exclusive economic zone is spread upto 200 nautical miles.
Moreover, it has been found that foreign vessels are trespassing into the State territory without having fishing licence, agitators alleged.
ADM Ramakrushna Sahu said, “The district administration has received the memorandum of the agitating fishermen and trawler operators. We will send the same to the Prime Minister’s Office for consideration.”
According to sources, around 2,000 deep-sea vessels and more than 35,000 gill-netters and medium-sized vessels operate from the State on a daily basis. Around one lakh fishermen depend on fishing in the seas.