It is good news for fishermen across Maharashtra, as the state government has announced a reward for those who save rare marine species.
The decision has been made to benefit both, the endangered marine life, as well as the fishermen, who incur huge losses each time a rare species is caught in their net, as they cut open the entire net to set them free.
According to the recent government resolution (GR) issued by the state, those fishermen will now receive a compensation of Rs 25,000 every time a turtle, dolphin, shark or any other endangered marine species is caught in their fishing nets. The announcement was made during a state cabinet meeting on December 21, 2018, as reported by Mumbai Mirror.
“When fishing, if any fishermen releases such a rare fish or animal which is caught in his or her net and the net is cut or is damaged in the process, the fishermen should file an application before the Chief Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Protection Cell. The state government will provide a compensation of Rs 25,000,” a senior state government official told the publication.
Under this scheme, fishermen will have to provide the details of their boats, fishing licences, boat licenses, along with the exact location, details of the exotic fish or animal, and photographs.
According to the officials, it is a common occurrence that marine mammals like dolphins, turtles and even protected fishes like the sawfish and guitarfish, get trapped in the huge nets. However, in such situations, cutting open the nets becomes economically infeasible for the fishermen. Many of these large nets are also rented, so permanently damaging them becomes a challenge.
Although the move has been largely applauded by marine activists, the lack of common awareness about the scheme is a feared challenge for proper implementation, according to them.
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“We welcome the move by the state government to provide compensation to fishermen. However, we would want a strong action from the government on the illegal trawlers that are still using purse seine nets and chemicals for fishing, which is polluting these marine species,” Damodar Tandel, president, Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti, told the Asian Age.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)