Odisha: Fiscal sop for fishermen hit by marine fishing ban

Kendrapara: Odisha government has decided to start a fiscal incentive scheme to compensate the loss of livelihood of fishermen due to periodic prohibition on marine fishing.

Sea-going fishermen suffer badly following ban on fishing activities during olive ridley sea turtles’ nesting season and breeding period of sea fish.

Fishing activities come to a grinding halt from November 1 to June 15 as the ban remains in force to protect turtles and breeding fish.

While a seven-month ban is clamped in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary from November 1, a two-month prohibition on marine fishing is enforced every year from April 15 throughout the 480 KM long sea coast.

A total of 2,000 marine fishermen from Kendrapara, Ganjam and Puri districts who are affected due to the fishing ban are to be brought under fiscal incentives from 2016-17 fiscal, Deputy Director, Marine Fisheries, Basant Kumsar Das said.

They are virtually rendered jobless for most part of the year due to the ban. To economically uplift them, the affected fishermen will be disbursed an amount of Rs 5,000 per annum, he said.

The sole objective is to provide financial assistance to poor marine fishermen and fish workers adversely affected due to the ban on account of sea turtle protection and marine fisheries resources conservation, Das said.

A new state Plan Scheme ‘Livelihood Support to Marine Fishermen During Fishing Ban Periods’ would be operational from the current financial year to strengthen the livelihood support of fishermen, said officials.

“We are happy as the government has decided to extend monetary aid. But Rs 5,000 per annum is too meagre to make up for the losses. The sum needs to be revised.

“We lose almost two-third of the fishing season each year. People sustaining on sea-fishing have switched over to other income sources,” said a marine fisherman from Paradip, Radhakant Maiti.