The Gujarat Assembly, on the final day of the monsoon session, unanimously passed The Gujarat Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that penalises anyone who enters the territorial waters of the state for fishing and prevents any terrorist attacks through sea route.
“Whoever enters the territorial waters with fishing vessel from outside the territorial waters of the state for the purpose of fishing or for any other allied purpose in contravention of any provision of this Act shall be punishable by the sub-divisional magistrate of the concerned area with fine of Rs one lakh and five times value of fish captured by such person,” stated the Bill that was tabled by Pradeepsinh Jadeja, state Minister for Home, on Friday.
The minister after tabling the Bill said in order to ensure safety and well-being of fishermen in Gujarat, it is “necessary to see that no unscrupulous persons enter or pass through the territorial waters of Gujarat without proper registration.” “It is also necessary to check the fishing vessels and their identity while they are undertaking fishing activities so that no anti-social or anti-national activities take place under the garb of fishing,” Jadeja said.
Pointing to the RDX landing case of 1993, Jadeja said, “For prevention of marine terrorism, it is important to have a secure coast… Today there are 22 marine police stations, 46 coastal outposts, 25 coastal checkposts and 30 interceptor boats. We are securing the coast. In our marine task force, there is one IGP, three SPs at Gandhidham, Porbandar and Hazira, 9 DySPs, 18 PIs, 83 PSI and 1029 marines are guarding from Narayan Sarovar in Kutch to Umargam in South Gujarat.”
“We can also declare no fishing zones and police have been empowered to search boats,” he said pointing to the recovery of drugs from Gujarat coast.
The Bill also regulates the dimension and the kind of nets to be used and the mode of using them. It prohibits the introduction of any kind of fish which may be harmful to species of fish without obtaining prior permission. It also prohibits fishing and marketing of fish during the closed season. Contravention of sections of the Bill can also attract imprisonment for a term that may extend to six months or with fine not exceeding Rs 10,000 or both.
Congress MLAs who supported the Bill said that fishermen from other states come with large trawlers to fish in the state’s territorial waters. “I welcome the Bill. This was long due,” said Congress MLA Punja Vansh.
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