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Rising Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

  • 14 Nov 2022
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Exclusive Economic Zone, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

For Mains: India’s Fisheries Sector and related initiatives

Why in News?

During the first half of this year, Indian Navy vessels monitored more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, despite growing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

  • Most of the illegal activity is found in the Northern Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is organized every year on 5th June.

What is Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU)?

  • IUU fishing is a broad term that captures a wide variety of fishing activity.
  • IUU fishing is found in all types and dimensions of fisheries; it occurs both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction.
  • It concerns all aspects and stages of the capture and utilisation of fish, and it may sometimes be associated with organized crime.
  • IUU fishing undermines national and regional efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks and, as a consequence, inhibits progress towards achieving the goals of long-term sustainability and responsibility.

What is the State of India’s Fisheries Sector?

  • Indian Scenario:
    • India is the second largest fish producing country in the world accounting for 7.56% of global production and contributing about 1.24% to the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA) and over 7.28% to the agricultural GVA.
    • India aims to achieve a target of producing 22 million metric tonnes of fish by 2024-25.
    • The sector is recognized as a powerful engine for providing employment to 14.5 million people and sustaining livelihood for the 28 million fishermen community of the country.
    • The fisheries sector has witnessed three major transformations in the last few years:
      • The growth of inland aquaculture, specifically freshwater aquaculture.
      • The mechanization of capture fisheries.
      • The successful commencement of brackish water shrimp aquaculture.
  • Related Initiatives:
    • Fishing Harbours:
      • The development of five major Fishing Harbours (Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Petuaghat) as hubs of economic activity.
    • Seaweed Park:
      • Multipurpose seaweed park in Tamil Nadu would be the center of production for quality seaweed-based products, developed on a hub and spoke model.
    • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana:
      • It strives to create direct employment to 15 lakh fishers, fish farmers, etc. and about thrice this number as indirect employment opportunities.
      • It also aims to double the incomes of fishers, fish farmers and fish workers by 2024.
    • Palk Bay Scheme:
    • Marine Fisheries Bill, 2021:
      • The Bill proposes to only grant licenses to vessels registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

What are the Initiatives taken to tackle the Issue of Illegal Mining?

  • Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA):
    • In May, 2022, recognising the impact of IUU fishing which can lead to the depletion of fish stocks affecting marine ecology, the Quad members announced a major regional effort under the ambit of Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA).
    • It aims to provide a more accurate maritime picture of “near-real-time” activities in the region.
    • It (IPMDA) is expected to catalyse joint efforts of India and other Quad partners towards addressing IUU in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • IFC-IOR:
    • The Indian Navy's Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram and the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) co-located with it monitor all vessel movements on the high seas.
    • IFC-IOR has been collaborating with other regional monitoring centres across the globe to enhance maritime safety and security, including efforts to monitor IUU.
    • As per United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), coastal nations are responsible for addressing IUU fishing issues within their respective EEZ.
    • Under UNCLOS, regional fisheries management organizations such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement monitor IUU fishing on the high seas.
  • The Cape Town Agreement:
    • The 2012 Cape Town Agreement is an internationally-binding instrument that sets minimum requirements on the design, construction, equipment, and inspection of fishing vessels of 24 meters in length and over or equivalent in gross tons.
      • India is not a signatory of the agreement.
  • Agreement on Ports State Measures:
    • The objective of this Agreement is to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port State measures, and thereby to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.
      • India is not a signatory of the agreement.
  • International Day for the Fight against IUU Fishing:

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (2018)

Source: PIB

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