New fishing rules -- a spoilsport


According to a notification issued by the Director of Fisheries the state government has made fresh rules. The Goa Marine Fishing Regulation (Seventh Amendment) Rules, 2023 under which all nature of fishing, including fishing with line-and-hook for "sport" fishing is covered, now entails registration of equipment with a payment of a fee. 

Non-compliance can lead to penal action including confiscation of equipment as well as the catch. One could even be fined multiple times the value of the catch, according to the notification. It is learnt that the same rule also applies to individual fishers using cast nets (pagear) and fishing with traps (koblim) to catch fish, prawns, lobsters and crab. There are numerous fishing enthusiasts in the state who spend a lot of time in angling as a leisure activity.  

However now picking up the fishing rod or line and heading to the river bank, sea or even the local sluice-gate to spend a few hours practicing your favourite leisure activity, one could be in conflict with the law if the angling equipment is not registered with the state's fisheries department and secured a license to practice the hobby. This has obviously upset many Goans who are fishing enthusiasts. 

Fishing also gives one the pleasure of self-fulfillment. When one goes out fishing, one respects the outdoor environment, learns skills and one learns to be patient. Above all one sets a goal and tries to achieve that goal. All these activities give a sense of fulfillment. Fishing is considered as one of the best hobbies. It would be desirable for the government to spare fishing enthusiasts of the new rule. 

It is also understood that the Fisheries Department has also revised the fees for grant and renewal of licenses of fishing vessels, fishing nets and other fishing gears. While this will help maintain the data on all boats that go out fishing it is learnt that the fishermen are not happy with the increase in the rates and are in need of infrastructure to help them sustain their business. 

It must be said that fishing is a hobby for some and a means of livelihood for others. At times these fishermen venture into deep-sea and come back with a small catch while spending on the diesel for their motor-boats. The government could have a rethink on the new regulation as the catch the fishermen bring in could be affected by the vagaries of nature.


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