Fishermen can claim compensation only thrice a year for rescue of endangered marine life: Maharashtra fisheries department
Fishermen claiming compensation for rescuing and releasing marine life into the sea can now do so only three times a year. The state government has introduced an upper limit to the number of claims one can file and the amount that can be claimed to the compensation scheme for the fishing community.
In a notification issued last week, the state fisheries department has announced a new structure for the compensation scheme for conservation practices by the fishing community. Endangered marine animals, protected under various schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, get caught in large trawler fishing nets and are rescued by cutting these nets. However, while the animals survive once the nets are cut the fishing community endures a loss due to damaged nets.
Changes to the compensation scheme, which was introduced in 2018 to encourage conservation practices by fishermen, were proposed by the state mangrove cell to ensure more fishermen take advantage of it instead of the rewards going to those making multiple claims through the year. The compensation is provided once the fisherman can submit proof of the release and damage to nets.
The compensation amount, which was earlier ₹25,000 for rescuing all kinds of marine life and releasing them into the sea, has been lowered for smaller species to ₹12,500.
For instance, for rescuing and releasing sea turtles, such as the Olive Ridley, green sea, loggerhead and hawksbill, fishermen will receive ₹12,500 for their first claim. One fisherman can make claims only three times a year. The compensation for the second claim will be ₹10,000 and for the third will be ₹8,000.
The compensation will remain ₹25,000 for the first claim for rescuing and releasing larger species such as the whale shark, Gangetic shark, Pondicherry shark, sawfish, giant guitarfish, leatherback turtle, dolphins and whales. Compensation for subsequent claims has been reduced to ₹20,000 and ₹15,000.
“Since the start of the scheme, we have disbursed ₹25 lakh to fishermen for their conservation efforts. However, we have noticed that some fishermen make multiple claims throughout the year. It can’t be that all these rare species are getting trapped in the nets of only a handful of fishermen. Therefore, we had proposed an upper limit on the number of claims one can file,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (mangrove cell). The compensation scheme for conservation practices was launched by the mangrove cell and fisheries department on December 21, 2018, and was subsequently passed by the state cabinet.
The mangrove cell had also found that the damage caused to nets by releasing smaller species was not very high, and therefore proposed to reduce the compensation, Tiwari added.
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