Bill to Protect Traditional Fishermen Adopted

Minister K A Jayapal moves the Bill, aimed at regulation of fishing by vessels, boat-building yards and net manufacturing units; conservation of fishery resources also part of it

Published: 21st February 2016 05:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2016 05:25 AM   |  A+A-

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CHENNAI: The State Assembly on Saturday adopted a Bill to amend the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1983, aimed at safeguarding the interests of traditional fishermen, regulation of fishing by vessels, regulation of boat-building yards and net manufacturing units and conservation and management of fishery resources along the coast of the State.

Fisheries Minister K A Jayapal, moving the Bill, said the multi-dimensional expansion of fishing activities, government’s initiative to diversify fishing into deep sea and dynamic coastal security scenario required quality fishing boats with higher length and engine capacity, quality fishing implements and skill development of fishermen to equip enable fishing boats with skill for deep-sea fishing.

Hence, there was a need to enact legislation to provide sufficient capacity fishing boats constructed in boat yards regulated by government’s quality standards and provide for capacity-building of fishermen to drive such vessels. 

CPM member K Balakrishnan said the Bill should be referred to the select committee of the House as it contained many clauses which would go against the livelihood of the poor fishermen. The penalties imposed for certain issues and some sections would directly affect the grassroot-level fishermen, he said.

Echoing similar views, S Gunasekaran (CPI) said some clauses in the amendment would be tantamount to awarding death sentence to the fishermen who venture into the sea for eking out livelihood.

The Bill should be left to the government to be formed after the State Assembly elections. The Bill was adopted by voice vote.

However, official sources categorically denied these allegations.

“The Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act was enacted in 1983 and during the past three decades, many advancements have been made in the fishing technology and there have been changes in marine fishing activities. Since the government wanted to update the Act, an experts committee was formed and for the few years, public hearing was held in coastal villages to elicit the views of the stake-holders, that is, fishermen.

“They have given many representations to the government about all issues to be addressed in the amendment. In a nutshell, all stakeholders have been taken into confidence before drafting this Amendment Bill”.

The official sources clarified that no clause in the Bill would directly affect the grassroot-level fishermen.  In fact, the amendment would bring relief to fishermen. 

14th Assembly’s last session ends

Chennai: The last session of the 14th Assembly came to a close on Saturday. Eight Bills, including the Vote on Account, were adopted. After the concluding remarks, Speaker P Dhanapal adjourned the House sine die. Thanking everyone, the Speaker gave a detailed account on the key legislations enacted during the past five years, resolutions of important issues adopted by House, etc., He said the 14th Assembly was constituted on May 23, 2011, and it had 11 sessions during the past five years till Saturday. The House proceedings were held for 197 days and they lasted for 918 hours and 31 minutes. The Speaker said of the 19,106 cut motions received, 16,557 were allowed. 

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