Mumbai: Responding to a request by fishermen from Maharashtra, the Centre has asked the state government to act against illegal and harmful fishing practices including the `purse seine` fishing.
"The state government is advised not to allow any type of unethical, illegal and harmful fishing practices including purse seining irrespective of the jurisdiction," D Chaudhari, Deputy Director (Fisheries) in the Union Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, said in a letter.
The letter, issued yesterday, has been sent to the Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries of Maharashtra Government.
Maharashtra Fishermen Action Committee president Damodar Tandel had requested the government to ban the `purse seine net fishing` along the Konkan coast, saying it was depriving thousands of fishermen of livelihood and depleting the fish stock.
"Fish stock along the state coast is facing a serious threat of depletion due to rampant purse seine net fishing by trawlers," Tandel said today.
With the latest missive from the Centre, the state government was expected to take action against the around 1,100 purse seine net trawlers which operate along the state coast, he said.
Purse seine net encircles entire schools of fish using a technique that resembles drawing of purse-strings. "There is already a scarcity of fish in Konkan, and some species have been fished to extinction by purse seine fishing," Tandel said.
These nets can be spread over a 3-km radius, which leaves no catch for the small-level local fishermen. According to Tandel, such fishing would finish off the marine life in the next 15 years.
He quoted a report by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute which says that number of fish species and fish catch were on decline, and a closer monitoring of the situation was required.
Fish catch in Maharashtra has halved in recent years, from 449,000 tonnes in 2002 to 244,000 tonnes in 2010.
The state government had initiated action against the use of purse seine nets three years ago, but it was challenged by the boat owners in the court.