Fishermen call for national policy on Inland Fisheries & Aquaculture
Kolkata: Various fish workers' forums in the state have written to the Union Agriculture minister, urging him to immediately prepare a national policy on Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture. As the fishermen from Bengal have seen an unprecedented growth in Inland fisheries in the state, the demand for a national policy has been strengthened.
Pradip Chatterjee, convener, National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland), said that fishermen in the state are disappointed at the inordinate delay in publication of the draft of the National Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy. The National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland) has submitted a memorandum to the minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare at the Centre and the Secretary of the department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, to expedite the process.
The department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare had formed an expert committee on October 21, 2016, under chairperson Dr Dilip Kumar, former V-C of CIFE, Mumbai, to collect stakeholders' responses towards developing a National Policy on Inland Fisheries. The committee collected stakeholders' responses through two sets of questionnaire and held 4 regional consultations with stakeholders at different places of the country. A national level consultation was organised on April 26-27, 2018, at ICAR-CIFE, Mumbai, to finalise the recommendations towards a draft National Policy for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture. The expert committee also submitted its recommendations on the draft policy to the department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. But the draft policy is yet to be published by the Centre.
"Almost 2 years have passed, but the draft policy has not come out. The inland fisheries sector of our country is yet to get a comprehensive policy document to guide its management and protection. By contrast, the marine fisheries sector of India had its National Policy way back in 2004, which has been revised in 2017. It may be worth mentioning here that the inland fisheries sector of our country is almost twice as large as the marine sector, in both production and employment," Chatterjee maintained.