Panaji: The Goa Forward Party (GFP) has demanded change in the eligibility criteria, presently giving scope to fishermen from other states to carry out open sea cage fish culture under the “Goa State Mariculture Policy 2020”, and allow only Goans to enter this business.
According to Fisheries Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar, the scope was widened due to the poor response in the state.
The Goa government had recently notified Goa State Mariculture Policy 2020 to carry out open sea cage fish culture in the territorial waters of the state.
GFP leader Deepak Kalangutkar, after submitting a memorandum to the Director of Fisheries, said that this scheme was modified allowing other states to start cage fishing in Goa. “Our coastal belt is very small. Our traditional fishermen have done hard work and have protected the fishing business. They should not be deprived of their rights,” he said.
“Agriculture, tourism and fishing are (now) the only three sources of revenue. Many non-Goans are seen in the tourism and agriculture sector, now if fisheries also goes to them, then Goans will be deprived,” Kalangutkar said.
Speaking to IANS, Halarnkar said that in 2017-18 the Central government had allotted Rs 144 crores for a “blue revolution”, which remained unutilised. “Their (GFP) MLA (Vinod Palienkar) was Fisheries Minister then. But he didn’t take interest in promoting the scheme,” Halarnkar said.
The GFP was part of the BJP government in 2017, however, all three Ministers of this regional party were dropped from the cabinet after the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Halarnkar said that as per the new amendments to the policy, any Indian national can venture into cage farming, provided they engage two-third local manpower.
“It is mandatory to engage 10 local workers out of 15 required capacity. By this they (locals) can get influenced and in future they could also venture into this business,” he said.
“The purpose of this (amendment) is to promote the scheme and foster the blue revolution,” he said.
“If Goa Forward Party proposes any names, from anywhere in Goa, we are ready to reach their doorstep and give them training,” he said.