MORE than 200 fisherfolk from Andhra
Pradesh went on a hunger strike in New
Delhi recently to protest against the
Aquaculture Authority Bill, 1997, which
would virtually nullify the Supreme
Court (SC) judgement banning aquaculture in the coastal regulation zone. The
bill was debated and cleared within an
hour by the Rajya Sabha on March 20.
In December 1996, the SC had ordered
the demolition of modern aqua farms
operating within 500 metres of the sea
coast by March 31,1997, on the grounds
of soil degradation, marine pollution
and hampering traditional fishing.
Ever since, aquaculture industries have been lobbying hard for a legislation that would allow them to resume their business. According to the new bill, aquaculture would be treated as a permissible activity under the Coastal Regulation Zone Act, 1991. Aqua farmers will have to apply for a license within six months of the formation of the concerned authority under law. In the meantime, they can continue aquaculture activities as long as the license is not denied. The bill will now be tabled in the Lok Sabha for final approval.
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