In News: Government of India answered the question related to Agreement on Fisheries subsidies in Rajya Sabha
Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (Agreement)
- The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (Agreement) agreed at the recently concluded WTO Ministerial meeting will prohibit subsidies from being provided for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and overfished stocks.
- Under the Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT), Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been allowed a transition period of two years from the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
- The Agreement also prohibits providing subsidies for fishing on high seas, which are outside the jurisdiction of coastal countries and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations/ Arrangements (RFMO/As).
- As per the Agreement, no prohibition has been imposed on a WTO Member regarding granting or maintaining subsidy to its vessel or operator as long as it is not carrying out IUU.
- Similarly, no prohibition on providing subsidies has been imposed for fishing regarding overfished stocks as long as such subsidies are implemented to rebuild the stock to a biologically sustainable level.
- The Agreement will eliminate the subsidies granted to fishing vessels or fishing operators engaged in IUU fishing.
- Such disciplining will check large-scale IUU fishing which deprives coastal countries like India of fisheries resources, thereby significantly impacting the livelihoods of our fishing communities.
- This Agreement also provides flexibility to extend subsidies concerning overfished stocks if measures are taken to rebuild fish stocks to a biologically sustainable level, which supports our fishing communities.
Fisheries Sector in India
- India is the second largest fish producing country in the world accounting for 7.56% of global production and contributing about 24% to the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA)
- India is the 4th largest exporter of fish in the world as it contributes 7.7% to the global fish production.
- Currently, this sector provides livelihood to more than 2.8 crore people within the country. Nevertheless, this is a sector with untapped potential.
- The fisheries sector has demonstrated double-digit average annual growth of 10.87 % since 2014-15 with record fish production of 145 lakh tons during 2020-21 as per the Economic Survey for 2021-22
- Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture sector registering an average annual growth of 7.53% during the last 5 years.
Challenges faced by Fisheries in India
- The FAO points out that nearly 90% of the global marine fish stocks have either been fully exploited or overfished or depleted to the extent that recovery may not be biologically possible
- In the Tropical regions, multiple varieties of fishes occur, but in smaller groups, which is not good for large scale commercial exploitation.
- Sector suffers from Lack of a reliable database relating to aquatic & fisheries resources.
- Aquatic pollution, destruction of fish habitats & frequent occurrence of Dead Zones/Hypoxic zones leading to shifting or permanent loss of Fishing zone.
- Lack of access to quality seed & feed, inadequate availability of credit.
- Increased use of Fibre Reinforced plastic (FRB), & poor-quality boats leading to ill effects on marine culture
- Poor infrastructure such as cold storage facilities, leading to an estimated 15-20% post-harvest loss.
- Issue of Formalin leads to negative branding of Indian fisheries.
Steps taken to improve the fisheries sector
- Foreseeing the vast resource potential & possibilities in the fisheries sector, a separate Department of Fisheries was created in February 2019.
- The Government has merged all the schemes of fisheries Sector into an umbrella scheme of ‘Blue Revolution: Integrated Development & Management of Fisheries’.
- Fisheries & Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) was approved with a total fund size of Rs 7522.48 crore.
- FIDF provides concessional finance to the eligible entities, cooperatives, individuals & entrepreneurs for development of identified fisheries infrastructure.
- Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)
- Rs 11,000 crore for activities in Marine, Inland fisheries, & Aquaculture & Rs. 9000 crores for Infrastructure – Fishing Harbours, Cold chain, Markets etc shall be provided.
- There are provisions of Ban Period Support to fishermen
- Kisan credit cards for Fishermen
- Kissan Credit Cards (KCC) to fishers & fish farmers to help them in meeting their working capital needs.
- GEMINI: Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation & Information
- For dissemination of information on disaster warnings, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen, GOI launched GEMINI device and mobile application.
- GOI has issued an advisory to all coastal States & UTs to make mandatory the use of Automatic Identification System (AIS) & Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) in fishing vessels for safe navigation.
- The Fishing Sector has been instrumental in sustaining the livelihoods of over 28 million people in India especially for marginalized and vulnerable communities and has contributed towards encourage socio-economic development.
- In order to face these above challenges, the fisheries sector must develop the capacity to build and run effective quality assurance systems to comply with increasing stringent international standards of international markets as well as extending these to the domestic markets.
- Similarly, it should promote efforts to improve selective fishing gears to minimize by-catches of juveniles and non-target species and to develop technologies to make economical utilization of unavoidable by-catches.
India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy particularly through the exploitation of the Blue Revolution. India needs to develop more scientifically its fishing system and related infrastructure aspects.
Previous Year Question
Q.1) The terms ‘Agreement on Agriculture’, ‘Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures’ and ‘Peace Clause’ appear in the news frequently in the context of affairs of the
- Food and Agriculture Organization
- United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change
- World Trade Organization
- United Nations Environment Programme