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Kerala to approach Centre again on deep-sea fishing issue

Kerala to approach Centre again on deep-sea fishing issue

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Tuesday called for dismissal of Meenakumari Committee report on deep-sea fishing, noting most of its recommendations were harmful to traditional fishermen.

Kerala would put pressure on the Centre to dismiss the Meenakumari Committee report, he said.

Replying to the need for drawing Centre's notice regarding problems faced by people of coastal areas, Chandy said in the Assembly that living conditions of coastal people, especially fishermen would become more strenuous with the implementation of the Meenakumari Committee report.

"State government cannot accept the report at any cost," Chandy said.

The issue was brought before the Centre during my recent visit to Delhi, he pointed out.

Taking up the issue, Congress leader T N Prathapan said state government should intervene urgently, as order under the committee recommendations with regard to deep-sea fishing had already been notified.

Prathapan said during a Coastal Yatra undertaken by him, most of the fishermen narrated problems faced by them due to Coastal Regulation Zone Management Act, deep-sea fishing rules, cut in the quota of kerosene for fishermen and lack of basic facilities in the coastal regions.

The seven-member Meenakumari Committee had submitted its report last year and its recommendations included deploying 1,178 deep-sea vessels including existing ones and an additional 270 vessels comprising 240 tuna long-liners, 15 squid jiggers and 15 purseiner boats in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This was in response to an observation that waters beyond the depth of 500 m were not exploited optimally.

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