Monday, February 7, 2011

Fishing community to get protection

Modeled on the Forests Rights Act, a new law has been proposed to establish rights of the fishing community in the coastal areas and resources.

Called the Fishermen Rights Act—for the coastal areas, the legislation is aimed at benefiting fishermen and other traditional communities living by the coast and using sea resources for livelihood.

These communities will have the right to possess land and build habitations near the coast, rights over fish and other products of water bodies, and the rights to protect, conserve or manage resources in coastal areas or in sea. It will also ensure that the fishing communities and other traditional dwellers who have been living in the coastal areas for long and depend on the sea for their livelihood are treated differently from outsiders under the strict CRZ regulations.

The new CRZ notification also makes this distinction and makes exceptions for these communities in certain instances. The proposed law is at the discussion stage and a draft legislation has been put out by the environment ministry for public debate.

After incorporating suggestions received from the stakeholders, a final draft would be presented to the Cabinet for approval before introduced as a Bill in Parliament.

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