Traditional fishermen exempted from 2-month ban

Traditional fishermen exempted from 2-month ban

Bowing to public pressure, the government on Wednesday exempted traditional fishermen from the two-month fishing ban in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone that came into force from Monday.

The exemption for “non-motorised” units comes after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi led fishermen’s protests in Kerala last week. On Wednesday, about 60 traditional fishermen set out to sea defying the Centre’s fishing ban.

In April, the Centre had extended the fishing ban in the EEZ to 61 days from 47 days to safeguard marine wealth.

While fishing activities are banned between June 1 and July 31 on the west coast, the ban came into force in the east coast on April 15 and will be in place till June 14.

"It has been decided that traditional fishermen will be exempted from uniform fishing ban imposed in the Indian EEZ, which is beyond territorial waters,” Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh said.

Responding to Rahul’s charges, Singh said the Congress leader was not even aware that it was not for the first time that such a ban was imposed by the Centre. “It has been imposed over the past two decades to ensure conservation of fish, which is in the interest of fishermen,” the minister said.

At a March 18 meeting, ministers from coastal states had agreed to impose a uniform fishing ban for 61 days from this year as against the 47 days till last year.

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