DMK MP Kanimozhi recommends lowering penalties on fishermen
Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam MP K Kanimozhi recommended lowering the penalties imposed on fishermen, during a virtual meeting with union fisheries minister Parshottam Rupala. The union minister held a meeting with the Members of Parliament from coastal areas to get their views on the Indian Marine Fisheries Bill, 2021.
“The penalties proposed under Schedule II of the bill for Indian fishing vessels are too high for fishermen to bear. Since it is their livelihood, the higher penalty will impact them severely and, in some cases, it may force them to give up fishing. Hence, the penalties may be reduced to a lower amount,” Kanimozhi recommended in the meeting.
The lowering of penalties was one of nine recommendations made by the Thoothukudi MP. She recommended a transfer of rule-making power from the Central government to respective state governments. She said this will enable the state governments to amend the rules according to the local situation, which may not be possible if the rules are to be made by the Central government.
“The Act must give powers to state governments to protect the rights of traditional fishing boats to fish in the territorial waters, EEZ and also the high seas,” she added.
Kanimozhi also recommended more clarity on terms such as “fisherman”, “processing” and “live transportation” of fishes in the draft Indian Marine Fisheries Bill 2021.
Another recommendation made by her is more clarity on the laws regarding imprisonment for obstruction of authorised officers. “Penalty for obstruction of authorised officers, imprisonment for a period of one year for obstructing the authorised officer is too broad and unclear. This will lead to unnecessary harassment of fishermen at the hands of authorised officers,” a press note from the MP read.
The Indian Marine Fisheries Bill 2021 is one of the 23 bills the Modi government intends to table in the upcoming monsoon Parliamentary session, scheduled to commence on Monday. This bill will repeal the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1981. It shall also provide for the sustainable development of fisheries resources in the exclusive Economic Zone of India and promote the livelihoods of small-scale and artisanal fishers and related matters.