The state government has introduced an ordinance to the existing Gujarat Fisheries Act 2003 wherein a fine of Rs 1 lakh will be levied on boats from other states venturing into the sea territory of Gujarat.
According to the state Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja, the ordinance introduced to the Fisheries Act is aimed at preserving the biodiversity of Gujarat coastal territory and rights of the state’s fishermen community. He further said that the ordinance is also aimed at stopping frequent abductions of Gujarat fishermen and their boats by Pakistan coastal security as often boats from Indian side venture into the international sea borders .
As per the new ordinance, the state marine police officers from the rank of police sub-inspector will be given the power to search and seize any vessel/ boat/craft/pilot vessel involved in the act of fishing within the sea territory of Gujarat.
“Gujarat has a coastal stretch of 1,600 kilometres which is shared by domestic as well as international sea borders. As per the existing Gujarat Fisheries Act 2003, there is no provision for a fine against the boats from other states. Several times boats from other states venture into the sea territory of Gujarat for fishing and associated activities thereby violating the rights of the fishermen community of Gujarat. Therefore it is important to fine the boats from other states who enter into Gujarat sea territory,” read the statement from the office of Jadeja.
“The marine police officers from the rank of police sub inspector have been given the power of ‘search and seizure’ and as per the ordinance, a fine of Rs 1 lakh will be levied on the boat from other state and the fishes seized from the boat will be auctioned and an amount five times greater than the auctioned money will be levied on the boat owner. The provision of issuing this punitive punishment will be given to sub-divisional magistrate. Later, for judicial appeal and investigation, the power has been vested in the district magistrate,” the statement said.
The state home minister also stated that the ordinance is also aimed at preventing frequent abductions of Indian fishermen by Pakistani security agencies.
“Many a times, fishermen from Gujarat and other states venture into the international sea borders in greed of ‘Lal Pari’ (Nemipterus Japonicus) fishes resulting in their abduction by the Pakistan security. On March 18 this year, the issue was raised in a state cabinet meeting and the Gujarat Fisheries Act (Amendment) was approved but the Bill couldn’t be passed in the Vidhansabha due to coronavirus lockdown. So the ordinance has been brought in urgent basis now,” read the statement.