The state fisheries division on Tuesday initiated an investigation and known as for motion concerning unauthorised fishing practices affecting uncommon and endangered marine species alongside the Maharashtra shoreline.
The fisheries commissioner ordered the inquiry based mostly on a report by marine biologists from the Mangrove Basis (below the state mangrove cell), which documented how unsustainable fishing practices, extreme juvenile by-catch, and unlawful shark fin commerce had been resulting in a speedy decline of threatened, susceptible, and critically-endangered sharks and allied species.
HT had reported the main points on Monday, elucidating how such practices alongside seven commercially necessary touchdown websites, together with three in Mumbai, with high-density of elasmobranch (sharks, skates, rays, and sawfish) inhabitants, had been resulting in total habitat degradation at fishing grounds.
“In view of the seriousness of the matter highlighted by nationwide and regional media, I’ve known as for an in depth investigation throughout all 173 marine fish touchdown centres throughout seven Konkan districts in addition to inspections to be undertaken at markets,” stated Atul Patne, state fisheries commissioner, including, “Strict motion must be taken towards fishing boats, sellers, consumers, and boat house owners below the Maharashtra Marine Fisheries Regulation Act, 1981, and the Wildlife Safety Act, 1972, for unauthorised seize and sale of uncommon and endangered elasmobranch species. Experiences on motion taken have been known as for on the earliest.”
The fisheries division plans to arrange an enforcement cell and improve manpower to deal with the difficulty. Beneath the Wildlife Safety Act, 1972, the assistant commissioner of fisheries (ACF) is empowered to take motion for the safety of uncommon and endangered marine species.
“We’ve reiterated this in an order issued on Tuesday,” stated Patne. “Presently, the division is going through a workers crunch with greater than 60% emptiness, with 23 licensing officers managing 173 touchdown centres. Even when the ACF manages to trace down instances, he’s unable to arrange the required paperwork, current submissions in courtroom, and monitor investigations.”
Patne stated that together with further manpower, he plans to rope in non-government our bodies or marine respondent teams concerned in curbing such violations (sagar rakshaks) to help his workers. “If shark fin commerce is operational within the home circuit, it is going to be tracked to the supply, and we are going to determine how it’s working,” he stated.
The Mangrove Basis report additionally recognized a fish touchdown centre at Satpati in Palghar, the place the seize of eight shark species, together with some a part of the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Purple Listing, noticed their fins eliminated and stored out to dry.
Shark fishing just isn’t unlawful in India. Nonetheless, catching 10 species protected below the Wildlife Act is prohibited and thought of unlawful. Shark fin import and export was banned by the Ministry of Commerce and Trade in 2015.
The mangrove cell research recognized 34 elasmobranch species – 14 sharks, 15 rays, and 5 species of wedges, sawfish and guitarfish – being caught throughout Satpati, Sassoon Dock, New Ferry Wharf, and Versova in Mumbai; Alibag in Raigad, Harnai in Ratnagiri, and Malvan in Sindhudurg. Of those, 24 species every fell below the susceptible, endangered, and near-threatened classes of the IUCN Regional Purple Listing, whereas one species of guitarfish (schedule I below WPA) was critically endangered. Eighteen of the 34 species caught had been juvenile elasmobranchs.
“We recognize that the fisheries division has taken cognisance of the report. If such a research has made any contribution in direction of marine conservation, it has achieved its objective,” stated Virendra Tiwari, further principal chief conservator of forest (Mangrove cell).