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Kerala govt. annuls agreement with U.S. firm

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Kerala govt. annuls agreement with U.S. firm:


Context:

The Kerala government has invalidated a controversial agreement that the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) had reached with a U.S.-based firm, EMCC International, to build and operate a deep-sea trawling fleet to harvest the marine wealth off the State’s coast.

What’s the issue?

Opposition called this deal as a bid to sell off the state’s marine wealth, endangering the livelihood of lakhs of fishermen in the state.

What was the agreement all about? What were the objectives of the project?

One of the stated objectives of the deal was deep sea fishing with state-of-the-art technology.

  • The components of the project were building 400 deep sea fishing trawlers as per the design proposed by EMCC.
  • The EMCC would train and deploy 1.60 lakh fishermen in deep sea fishing. Their skills would be upgraded, and the local fishing community would benefit in terms of direct and indirect employment opportunities.

How is the proposed project against fisheries policy?

The Union Government had in 2017 withdrawn permission given for foreign trawlers for deep sea fishing in the exclusive economic zone of the country.

  • The EEZ of the country extends up to 370 km from the coastline.

Illegal fishing by foreign vessels in Indian waters is punishable under provisions of Maritime Zone of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels Act) 1981.

Besides, Kerala’s fisheries policy, brought in 2018, opposed allowing foreign and native corporate vessels along the state’s coast

  • The professed policy of the state is to equip the traditional fishermen for deep sea fishing by making them owners of deep sea fishing vessels.
  • Besides, there would be restrictions on the number of vessels. Only traditional fishermen would be given permission to replace their old boats.

What is Deep Sea Trawling?

The Deep Sea Trawling can be defined as the Industrial way or method fishing in which large nets with heavy weight are carted across the seafloor to lift out the catch marine animals such as fishes, shrimp, cod etc. It is considered as the most prominent method of fishing which is a practice across the world at large scale.

Impact of Deep Sea Trawling on Environment:

The gears of Deep Sea Trawling creates huge on the life of marine plants and animals as well as the seafloor by disrupting the sediment column structure, overturning boulders, re-suspending sediments and imprinting deep scars on muddy bottoms.

Sources: the Hindu.