September 2, 2021 10:12:24 am
The Madras High Court has directed the State government to consider and take appropriate decision within a month on a plea from fishermen in Cuddalore to allow them to catch fish using purse seine nets.
Justice R Mahadevan gave the direction, while disposing of a writ petition from the Fishermen Co-operative Society in Cuddalore, recently.
The petition prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to permit the members of the society to catch fish using purse seine nets with ring, in pursuance to the order of the Union Fisheries Ministry dated March 20, 2020, by considering the petitioner’s representation dated July 8, this year.
According to the petitioner society, consisting of about 656 fishermen, the State Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (FS V) department on March 25, 2000 had issued a notification under the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act, prohibiting fishing by pair trawling or fishing with purse seine nets by any fishing vessel, country craft or mechanised boats, irrespective of the size and power of engine in entire coastal areas of the state in territorial waters as a measure to conserve fishery.
In the meantime, the Union Fisheries Ministry constituted a Technical Committee to review the duration of the fishing ban period and to suggest further measures to strengthen the conservation and management aspects. The committee submitted a report to the Union government in September 2014, but it was not implemented.
Therefore, five persons filed a writ petition in 2015 to implement the expert committee report and to grant exemption to the ban imposed by the March 2000 GO. By an order passed on March 12, 2015, the High Court had directed the government to consider the committee’s report.
Pursuant to this order, the central government issued a notification on March 20, 2020 to implement the committee’s report. As per this notification, the fishermen all over India, including the members of the petitioner society, are entitled to fishing activities with the use of purse seine nets with rings. But this too was not given effect to, with the result, the ban on using the purse seine nets with rings, continued. Hence, the present writ petition.
Recently, when the matter was taken up, the state government submitted that a communication dated July 30 this year was addressed by the Assistant Director of Fisheries department in Cuddalore to the petitioner, stating the government will take a decision on petitioner’s representation.
“In the light of the communication dated 30.07.2021, this Court directs the government and the Fisheries department to consider the petitioner’s representation dated July 8 and take appropriate decision within four weeks,” the judge said.
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