• The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre what would happen to the small and traditional fishermen in the State of Tamil Nadu if “affluent” purse seine fishermen on mechanised boats are allowed to operate beyond the 12 nautical mile territorial waters and end up catching hundreds of tonnes of fish.
  • The court is hearing a petition filed by ‘Fishermen Care’ to stay a Tamil Nadu government order of February 17, 2020, which had banned the large nets used to catch schools of fish in the deep waters of the sea.
  • On Tuesday, purse seiners urged the court to devise an interim arrangement by which they could operate outside 12 nautical miles before the ongoing fishing season in the State came to an end.
  • Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, for the Union, said purse seine fishing could be allowed outside 12 nautical miles from the Tamil Nadu coast for 15 days in a given month except during the 60-day uniform fishing ban period.
  • “If larger fishermen operating beyond the 12 nautical miles take all the catch, what would happen to these smaller fishermen? Is it not a concern of the Centre to go into all this and take a decision?” Justice A.S. Bopanna asked Mr. Nataraj.
  • Nataraj said a national comprehensive plan would be drawn on purse seine fishing and regulations in six months. However, the court pointed out that the need was now and not after six months. It directed the Union to file an affidavit on how purse seine fishing is regulated in other States so that an interim arrangement could be made for purse seine fishing in T.N. beyond the 12 nautical miles.


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