No plan to bring down fisheries subsidies: Govt in LS

No plan to bring down fisheries subsidies: Govt in LS

India News

Amid apprehension that there would be curbs on fishing subsidies following the WTO Geneva Package agreements, the Centre on Tuesday clarified in Lok Sabha that it has “no plan to bring down fisheries subsidies in the country.”

“Marine capture fisheries in the country are mostly small-scale in nature. As such, there is no large-scale industrial fishing in the country… The government has no plan to bring down fisheries subsidies in the country,” Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala, said in the House.

Rupala, who was replying to questions raised by Congress MPs from Kerala, Hibi Eden and M K Raghavan, said the agreement on fisheries subsidies was unanimously adopted on June 17 by the members during the 12th session of the Ministerial Conference of the 164-member WTO, held at Geneva. The deal — Geneva Package — included agreements on curbing harmful fishing subsidies, and a temporary patent waiver for production of Covid-19 vaccines.

India had sought a 25-year transition period, contending that fisheries sector in the country requires government support since millions of fisher folks in coastal areas still rely on small-scale fishing for their livelihood. They are given subsidies to acquire and modernise their relatively small fishing vessels, purchase equipment for vessels, and as insurance charges, the government stated.

The agreement includes subsidies given by countries on overfishing, deep-sea fishing and unregulated fishing.

India provided $277 million in 2018 to small fishers.

According to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), as per Census 2016, the country’s marine fisherfolk population is 3.77 million, comprising approximately 0.90 million families. Nearly 67.3 per cent of these families were in the below poverty line (BPL) category.

There are around 2 lakh fishing crafts, of which only 59,000 (37 per cent) are mechanised. The estimated fisheries potential is about 4.4 million tonnes, and the marine capture production in 2019 was 3.8 million tonnes.

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