Marine fishing policy focuses on infrastructure, pvt participation

Kochi, Nov 28 | Updated: Nov 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
A master plan aimed at developing the necessary infrastructure to meet the demands of the marine industry for the next 10 years and exploring the possibilities for private sector funding through build, operate, own (BOO) and build, operate, transfer (BOT) modes would be explored, according to the comprehensive national marine fishing policy brought out recently.

The seafood industry sees this as nothing beyond a vision statement that needs great efforts to be implemented.

The new marine policy of the ministry of agricultural department of animal husbandry and dairying makes a departure from the past policies which have so far focused only on the developmental needs of the deep sea sector, leaving aside similar issues pertaining to the coastal sector of the states and Union Territories. Instead, this time around the Central government seeks to bring the traditional and coastal fishermen also into the focus together with stakeholders in the deep sea sector for a harmonised development of marine fishery both in the territorial and extra territorial waters of the country.

The policy thrust would be to augment marine fish production of the country up to the sustainable level in a responsible manner and boost export and also increase per capital fish protein intake of the masses. It aims to ensure socio-economic security of the artisanal fishermen as sustainable development of marine fisheries with due concern to ecological integrity and bio-diversity. The new policy comes during the initial years of the Tenth Plan and different departments at the Central and state levels could take necessary steps so that the benefits would reach the stakeholders, the policy statement says.

Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) president AJ Tharakan told FE that the policy announced did not go beyond a vision statement. The association had been demanding a national policy for quite sometime. The present policy did touch upon several issues but there were no concrete proposals and little about the methodology to implement them. He said that discussions were held recently with Central animal husbandry and dairying secretary PMA Hakim who assured the association that necessary legislative measures could be undertaken based on the needs of the industry.

Mr Hakim had told the association that the issues in the policy would be subjected to detailed study and suitable legislation would be introduced when necessary. Exporters felt that some of the important issues raised by them often had not been addressed.