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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed conditional use of purse seine nets by the fishermen of Tamil Nadu beyond territorial waters but within the exclusive economic zone of the state on two days per week.  A bench headed by Justice AS Bopanna said that only fishing vessels registered with the state government and under the marine fishing regulation law will be allowed to fish on Mondays and Thursdays from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm using purse seine fishing nets.  

The bench also said permission will be given by the state fisheries department to only those boats that have approved vessel tracking system. The tracking system must be kept running during the operation of vessels, the court said.  

The bench also mandated sailors to keep their biometric card/photo ID with them and also provide the code of the vessel tracking system to the fisheries department, marine police, coast guard and the Indian Navy. “The state fisheries department shall also give a colour code to these purse seine net using fishing boats for the above purposes,” the Supreme Court bench  said.   

‘Central govt has not restricted use of net’

The order came on an application seeking interim stay on the state government’s G.O. dated February 17, 2022, banning the use of purse seine nets for fishing. It was argued that the state’s ban was arbitrary and had been passed to destroy the union of India policy.

It was contended by the petitioners that only union of India has jurisdiction beyond the territorial waters and the centre has not placed any restrictions on purse seine net fishing. It was further contended that the powers of the state legislatures and its executive could not travel beyond the territorial waters of Tamil Nadu.

Opposing the arguments, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the fishing method is ‘pernicious’ as it is harmful to marine life, including fish. The nonselective fishing method, which captures all kinds of fish including protected species, has a dangerous effect on ecology, Rohatgi said.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed conditional use of purse seine nets by the fishermen of Tamil Nadu beyond territorial waters but within the exclusive economic zone of the state on two days per week.  A bench headed by Justice AS Bopanna said that only fishing vessels registered with the state government and under the marine fishing regulation law will be allowed to fish on Mondays and Thursdays from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm using purse seine fishing nets.  

The bench also said permission will be given by the state fisheries department to only those boats that have approved vessel tracking system. The tracking system must be kept running during the operation of vessels, the court said.  

The bench also mandated sailors to keep their biometric card/photo ID with them and also provide the code of the vessel tracking system to the fisheries department, marine police, coast guard and the Indian Navy. “The state fisheries department shall also give a colour code to these purse seine net using fishing boats for the above purposes,” the Supreme Court bench  said.   

‘Central govt has not restricted use of net’

The order came on an application seeking interim stay on the state government’s G.O. dated February 17, 2022, banning the use of purse seine nets for fishing. It was argued that the state’s ban was arbitrary and had been passed to destroy the union of India policy.

It was contended by the petitioners that only union of India has jurisdiction beyond the territorial waters and the centre has not placed any restrictions on purse seine net fishing. It was further contended that the powers of the state legislatures and its executive could not travel beyond the territorial waters of Tamil Nadu.

Opposing the arguments, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the fishing method is ‘pernicious’ as it is harmful to marine life, including fish. The nonselective fishing method, which captures all kinds of fish including protected species, has a dangerous effect on ecology, Rohatgi said.