India’s new National Policy on Marine Fisheries is likely to put a stop to the destructive practice of juvenile fishing across the country and to halt the spread of fishmeal factories.
“Use of low-value fish in fish feed industry is a matter of concern as it can lead to overfishing of low value fish and bycatch, and this could ultimately undermine the entire marine eco system”, says the first draft of the Marine Fisheries Policy.
The draft was prepared for the stakeholder consultations held in Kochi on February 4 and is expected to undergo changes as stakeholder consultations continue in the coastal States.
The document also expressed concern at the spread of fish meal factories.
Juvenile fishing was banned in Kerala for a dozen commercially important species early last year, but there have been reports of large-scale landings of juveniles in Kerala harbours.
There are also allegations that fishermen from neighbouring States are engaged in juvenile fishing in waters off the Kerala coast and landing the catch in their own States as other States have not banned the practice.
“The spread of fish meal plants in some parts of the country and their overwhelming demand for small pelagics has already driven the valuable oil sardines stock to very low levels in some parts of the country,” says the draft and recommends regulation to stop the proliferation of fishmeal plants.
Source: The Hindu. Read the full article here.