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Govt set to launch action plan to tackle illegal shark fin trade

A document will be shared with all coastal states in the next three months, a senior official has said.

mumbai Updated: Jul 24, 2018 14:48 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,illegal shark fin trade
Officials from Maharashtra fisheries department said they were cancelling licences of fishing trawlers and large vessels involved in the shark fin trade.(Ganesh Nakhawa)

The Union agriculture ministry is set to release an action plan and guidelines on shark conservation, with a view to control illegal shark fin trade. “There have been reports from various coastal states of illegal activities related to shark fin trade. A document has been developed which will be shared with all coastal states and union territories. It will be released in the next three months,” said a senior official from the department of animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries.

E Vivekanandan, former principal scientist and national consultant at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, said the Centre prohibited export of shark fins through a notification issued on February 6, 2015. However, after sea food exporters filed a writ petition in the Madras and Kerala high courts, the ban was stayed.

Despite the rule set by both the state and the Centre, to use 40-mm square mesh nets, fishermen use 10-mm to 15-mm diamond nets. Ganesh Nakhawa, chairman, Maharashtra Purse Seine Fishermen’s Welfare Association, said that these nets trap juveniles during trawling. Trawling is a method of scraping the ocean floor using large vessels.

“We need to work with enforcement agencies to resolve this,,” said Saket Badola, head, TRAFFIC India.

Officials from the Maharashtra state fisheries department said they were cancelling licenses of fishing trawlers and large vessels involved in shark fin trade. Rajendra Jadhav, joint commissioner, Maharashtra state fisheries department, said action was being taken against offenders.

“The fisheries department can take action under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. We will also organise a training session so department officials can better understand the procedure,” said N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. “For accidental catch of protected species, if fishermen cut the net and release them back into sea, we will be giving them a maximum compensation of ₹25,000. A total of ₹27 lakh has been earmarked for this from the mangrove foundation.”

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 12:00 IST