Update: As of 26th May 2020, per the revised order issued by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, the duration of the fishing ban has been brought down from 60 days to 47 days. It will be in force on the East Coast will from April 15 to May 31, and on the West Coast from June 15 to July 31. The amendment in the period of uniform fishing ban is applicable only for the current year and would not set any precedent for future.
The annual fishing ban is an order issued by the President of India via the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. This ban has been formulated to give marine life in our seas and oceans some space to regenerate.
It draws from scientific models that prove the monsoon season creates a conducive environment for fish spawning. This makes it crucial to protect the marine habitat during the reproduction period.
Why is a fishing ban needed in the first place? Overfishing.
Overfishing happens when we fish from our seas without giving the species enough time to replenish themselves. This results in a major shortage of a variety of species of fish in the area. The marine life population in our seas and oceans is dwindling because of overfishing. This has a greater impact in the monsoon, since it is also fish breeding season. Thanks to the fishing ban during the monsoon, the marine life population gets a chance to replenish itself every year so we have enough availability for the rest of the year.
What’s the impact of the Covid-19 situation on the fishing ban?
In a regular year, the fishing ban is usually imposed in the monsoon season for two months (usually in phases), across the east and west coast of India. This year, the situation is tricky. In an order released on April 10 by the Home Ministry, all fishing, including marine fishing, was permitted during the lockdown since they are essentials. But an order by the Fisheries Ministry on April 14 announced the implementation of the Fishing Ban till June 15. But it seems like the order was revoked considering the lockdown.
The ground reality is that an unannounced ban is in place on the east coast with some fishing allowed at intermittent periods. On the west coast, there’s no decision from the respective state governments yet. Fishermen from all coasts have requested their respective state governments to permit fishing as their livelihoods have been severely impacted due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Another thing to consider is that the lockdown has led to a quick and robust decline in human activities across shores, thus providing marine life with ample rest and non-interference over the last 48 days.
What is the Licious stance on this?
Licious is committed to responsible fish and seafood sourcing, whether it is cultured or captured, by abiding to the government rules and regulations, and adopting best sourcing practices. Our business partners are encouraged to use best practices that avoid capture of immature and undersized fishes and also without jeopardizing the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. It is also part of our policy to respect and uphold the needs and rights of seafood workers and communities throughout the supply chain.
We are working closely with the authorities and will be abiding by the orders issued by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries as and when it is issued. And we will make sure to keep you updated of any new information that comes our way.
In the meantime, you may find that availability of seafood is a bit low. But do try out our freshwater fish like Rohu and Catla, and our freshwater prawns too!