LS passes amendment bill to decriminalise offences in coastal aquaculture biz

     New Delhi, Aug 7 (PTI) The Lok Sabha on Monday passed an amendment bill to decriminalise the offences committed in carrying out the coastal aquaculture activities and ensure ease of doing business.
     Union Minister Parshottam K Rupala said that the fishermen community of the country will welcome the bill.
     He said that through this, "we can send a message from parliament that we stand with the fishermen".
     The bill was passed by voice vote.
     The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was introduced in the lower house on April 5, also seeks to expand the scope, remove regulatory gaps and reduce the compliance burden without diluting environmental protection rules in the coastal areas.
     To decriminalise the offences, the bill seeks to remove the jail term of up to three years and impose only a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh.
     It also seeks to fine-tune the operational procedures of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority to make it more responsive to the needs of the stakeholders, promote newer forms of environment-friendly coastal aquaculture like cage culture and seaweed culture, and usher in global best practices in this sector, including mapping and zonation of aquaculture areas, quality assurance and safe aquaculture products.
     The bill also seeks to encourage the establishment of facilities in areas having direct access to seawater to produce genetically improved and disease-free broodstocks and seed for use in coastal aquaculture besides preventing the use of antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances, which are harmful to human health in coastal aquaculture.
     Rupala said that after its introduction in the Lok Sabha, it was sent to the standing committee.
     The ministry has accepted 45 amendments of the committee out of 56.
     Citing data, he said that there was an expenditure of only Rs 3,680 crore for the sector during 1947 and 2014.
     But the Modi-led government has the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana with an investment of Rs 20,050 crore in fisheries sector.
     During the last nine years, shrimp production in the country has increased to 11.84 lakh tonnes in 2022-23 from 3.22 lakh tonnes in 2013-14.
     The government has removed a number of provisions, where imprisonment was there for minor offences, the minister said.
     "We can send a message from parliament that we concerned about the fishermen community," he added.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)