Economic welfare of fishermen

The central Government in Ministry of Home Affairs and State Governments under the National Disaster Response Fund/State Disaster Response Fund guidelines provide assistance to affected population during cyclones and floods including fishermen. In order to provide relief to fisheries sector, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) vide an addendum to Covid-19 pandemic lockdown guidelines issued on 10th April 2020, exempted the activities such as marine fishing operations, aquaculture industry, movement of fish/shrimp products and workers, operation of processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing, hatcheries, feed plants and commercial aquaria in the marine fishing sector.

Fisheries Sector

Subsequently, the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, is implementing a flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) with highest ever investment of Rs. 20,050 crore for a period of five years from. FY 2020-21 to 2024-25 in all States and Union Territories (UTs).The financial assistance being provided under the PMMSY to the fishermen, fish workers and fish farmers across the country is facilitating the growth of fisheries sector in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governments of coastal States/UTs through their respective Marine Fishing Regulation Acts (MFRAs) are governing fishing activities including mesh-size and fishing gear regulations, preventing juvenile fishing, zonation for different categories of fishing vessels, etc. for avoiding depletion of resources.

The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has issued advisories from time to time to coastal States/UTs for ensuring sustainable and responsible fishing practices and to prevent destructive fishing methods.

Community Interaction Programmes (CIPs)

The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying issues advisory to coastal States and Union Territories (UTs) from time to time to sensitize the fishermen on the implications of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and on the importance of not to cross IMBL. Besides, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) regularly conduct Community Interaction Programmes (CIPs) for the fishermen in the coastal villages wherein they are sensitised about IMBL among other safety and security measures.

ICG ships and aircraft, during regular patrol close to IMBL undertake shepherding of Indian fishing boats into Indian waters. Co-ordinated patrols with neighboring countries are also undertaken in order to sensitize the fishermen to avoid crossing IMBL.

Exclusive Economic Zone

ICG also sensitizes Fisheries Departments of Coastal States/UTs and fisheries associations about the perils of fishing near/across IMBL. The flagship scheme “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) being implemented by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying provides support to traditional fishermen/fishermen’s groups, to acquire deep sea fishing vessels and Automatic Information System/communication devises and support for training and capacity building to avoid crossing IMBL and instead to fish in other areas within Exclusive Economic Zone farther away from their bases.

In addition, PMMSY also supports fitment of communication and/or tracking devices, and GPS onboard fishing boats in order to help the fishermen to avoid straying across IMBL. (PIB)