2. Fisheries Policy Development

Reports from Work Package 2: Please click on Report Number to view


The overall objective of WP2 - Fisheries Policy Development in relation to the objectives of FIMSUL Project was to produce a new draft fisheries policy framework for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The key activities involved in this WP were (i) Development of a profile of the fisheries sector, (ii) Profiling and performance assessment of existing policies and its processes, (iii) Considering international best practices in the fishery sector, (iv) Identifying and evaluating various policy options, (v) Discussions with stakeholders on the policy options, and (vi) Producing a draft fisheries policy framework.

An Integrated Fisheries Policy Analysis Toolbox (IFPAT) was prepared. In the initial version of the toolbox, ten key components of integrated fisheries policy analysis including: Sector Profile, Sector Context, Key Issues, Policy Profile, Policy Implementation, Policy Assessment, Policy Evaluation, Policy Coherence, Future Policy Options and Strategies for Policy Reform, have been highlighted. For each component, the key objective of appropriate analysis and its importance are outlined, along with likely information and data sources, followed by an examination of the types of methods, or tools.


· There is no long term, comprehensive fisheries policy for TN or PC.

· The marine fishing policy of the Govt. of India in the past focused only on the developmental needs of the deep-sea sector, leaving aside similar issues pertaining to the coastal sector to the respective marine states/ UT’s.

· National Fisheries Policies have been designed, developed and implemented without involving the process of stakeholder consultation.

· Present policy initiatives too general and have not been helpful in tackling the growing discontentment among the fishers.

· Present policy is influenced by two key Government of India policy documents – Five Year Plans and the 2004 Comprehensive Marine Fisheries Policy (CMFP) notified by the Central Government.

· Fisheries policies in India and the legal framework are developed with few linkages between the sectors, based on outdated and fragmented legislation, and have generally focused on increased production with little emphasis on conservation, sustainability or responsible fisheries management.

· Major policy initiatives for the fisheries sector, as spelt out in the Fisheries Policy Note 2011-12 of Tamil Nadu are:

- Improving the living standards of fisherfolk by implementing welfare Schemes.

- Providing social security to the fisherfolk by implementing relief Schemes.

- Protecting the fishing rights of the fishermen.

- Developing / strengthening the infrastructure facilities to benefit fisherfolk and promote export.

- Conserving the fishery resources by enforcing statutory regulations, stock enhancement and establishing artificial fish habitats.

- Managing the fishing resources by diversifying the fishermen to exploit offshore/ deep sea resources by providing financial assistance and establishing Mid Sea Fish Processing Unit.

- Promoting sustainable eco-friendly aquaculture practices.

· Existing fisheries policies and programmes revolve around populist welfare measures and a large part of the annual Plan budget goes towards the welfare programmes. Almost 80 per cent of the budgetary support is devoted to socio-economic measures (welfare programmes), with very little allocation to marine fisheries management.

· The impact assessment of existing policies is very weak and hence there is little to learn from the past performances for future policy formulation

· A range of future policy options has emerged from the results of the studies under the different Work Packages of FIMSUL Project. A synthesis of those policy options are given under the Future Plans.


· Further enhancement and development of administrative, legal and management frameworks and systems needed to the attainment of the fisheries vision identified and agreed to by the stakeholders in the statewide stakeholder consultations held under the FIMSUL Project.

· Better understanding of the issues and needs of different stakeholders, better coordination and cooperation between the State Fisheries Department, the link departments and project funding/executing agencies; and commitment from the project implementing agencies for sustainable marine fisheries management and development.

· Forthcoming 5 yearly and annual plans should ensure a phased approach with regard to adequate control over open access; reduction/regulation in fishing capacity with an effective monitoring, control and surveillance system, and giving equal importance to diversification and comprehensive livelihoods enhancement.

· Amendment of MFRA or, if needed, a totally new version of the MFRA, as an enabling Act

o to accommodate and mandate a co-management approach,

o for creation of village level, district level and state level platforms(functional management councils or committees),

o to provide for delegation of authority to lower levels, and enforcement of its provisions by the community in cooperation with the Department of Fisheries,

o introduction of management plans, and

o strict compliance with the International and National Conventions, Laws, Acts, Rules and Regulations.

· The existing approaches to the control of access to fisheries are reviewed to ensure the equitable use of fisheries resources by those who are most dependent on them, improvements made and requisite legal framework put in place.

· Focus should switch to maximising returns from the existing fisheries, through reduction of harvest and post-harvest losses by providing adequate basic and need based shore based infrastructure facilities.

· Though welfare measures are obligatory to sustain the artisanal sector, parallel development initiatives also need to be implemented and regulatory measures developed and implemented. This requires a balanced distribution of plan outlay (Budget) between management and conservation of marine fisheries resources and the fishers’ welfare.

· Interventions needed for enabling/facilitating fishers’ children to get quality education at par with the urban children and skill upgradation among fishers, for which appropriate facilities be created.

· Interventions needed for upgrading the wellbeing of the fishers by providing universal access to basic social services, including basic education, health care, nutrition, clean drinking water and sanitation in all the fishing hamlets.

· Future fisheries development and management options must take account of wider coastal development/management issues.

· Fisheries be managed and developed to promote socially, economically and environmentally sustainable use and development of the resources and to improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty in fishing communities, taking account of the special needs of women, youth and other disadvantaged groups.

· An action plan must be in hand for each village committees as to how best the fishers and the neighborhood can be in readiness to face any disaster and also mitigate problems and damages to lives and properties.

· There should be a systematic impact assessment of the policy performance and ways of modifying future plans accordingly