What is Deep Sea fishing? What are the Main types of Deep sea fishing? What are the Issues and Challenges in Deep sea fishing? What is Purse Seine Fishing? Read further to know more.
India has many communities of fishermen, and fishing has been a traditional employment here.
Additionally, the 12th FYP recommended that this sector be given fresh attention by modernising fishing trawlers, introducing mother vessels, and improving cold storage facilities.
What is Deep Sea fishing?
Fishing at least 100 feet deep in waters far from the shore is known as deep-sea fishing, also known as large game or offshore fishing. Fishing operations in the open ocean, beyond the continental margin, are referred to as deep-sea fishing.
The country’s Blue Revolution goal to fully utilise fishing resources within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone has included deep sea fishing as a key component (EEZ).
Main types of Deep sea fishing
Fishing that takes place in the open ocean, typically far from the shore, is referred to as deep-sea fishing. Here are a few typical techniques for deep-sea fishing:
- Trolling: This is a technique in which a lure or bait is drawn through the water behind a moving boat. The lure is designed to attract fish to bite.
- Bottom fishing: This is a technique in which the bait is dropped to the bottom of the sea. The trick can be left on the bottom or lifted slightly off the bottom to attract fish.
- Jigging is a technique in which a weighted lure is dropped to the bottom of the sea and lifted and lowered to attract fish.
- Drifting: This is a technique in which the boat is allowed to drift along with the current while bait is deployed. The bait can be on the surface or suspended at a depth to attract fish.
- Chumming: This is a technique in which fish bait is scattered over the water to attract fish.
- Deep dropping: This is a technique in which the bait is dropped to the bottom of the sea, usually in depths of several hundred meters, to catch deep-sea species
Issues and Challenges in Deep sea fishing
As far as we are aware, it is an industrial trawling technique. Thus, increased fishing or overfishing, which has a significant ecological impact on the fish population, is driven by financial considerations.
- Overfishing is one of the greatest problems with deep-sea fishing. The populations of many fish species are declining as a result of fishing at a pace that is outpacing their capacity to reproduce.
- This could have a major effect on marine ecosystems and cause fish numbers to collapse.
- Bycatch, a term for the accidental capture of non-target species during deep-sea fishing, occurs frequently. This can include fish species, seabirds, and marine mammals, many of which are in peril of extinction.
- Deep-sea fishing techniques can cause substantial damage to the seafloor and the habitats of deep-sea species. Bottom trawling, for example, entails dragging heavy nets along the seafloor, which can destroy coral reefs and other critical habitats.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing:
- Deep sea fishing is frequently done by boats that don’t follow local, national, and foreign fishing laws. This may result in illegal commerce in fish and seafood products as well as overfishing and other unsustainable fishing methods.
- The oceans and the marine creatures that live in them are being significantly impacted by climate change.
- Fish populations may diminish as a result of rising ocean temperatures and acidification, necessitating the modification of fishing methods to the new environmental circumstances.
- Deepwater fishing can be expensive and logistically difficult. Fishing access to deep-sea fish populations may be challenging due to inadequate technology and gear, which may reduce the potential for sustainable fishing methods.
Insufficient Conservation Efforts:
- The court’s ruling appears more focused on administrative and transparency measures to control fishing than it is on conservation efforts and legal obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- The EEZ’s living and non-living resources must be utilised, conserved, and controlled by coastal states by UNCLOS to prevent overexploitation.
- Coastal States must establish the total allowable catch (TAC) in the EEZ to avoid overexploitation.
- Without controlling fishing techniques, limiting the purse seine to two days of fishing is insufficient.
Threatens Livelihood of Traditional Fishers:
- Contrary to traditional fishers using traditional fishing gear, purse seiners frequently overfish, endangering the traditional fisher’s means of subsistence.
- It is a non-targeted fishing technique that catches any fish that gets in the net’s path, including young fish.
- As a result, they seriously harm aquatic resources.
Threat to Food Security:
- The diminishing supply of oil sardines, a favourite of fish eaters in Kerala, is a serious worry.
- Just 3,297 tonnes of sardines were taken in by Kerala in 2021, a significant drop from the 3.9 lakh tonnes taken in 2012.
Threatens Endangered Species:
- A possible trade embargo may be threatened by the non-selective fishing techniques used by purse seines that result in the bycatch of other marine living species, some of which may be endangered.
The recent judgment of the Supreme Court
The Indian Supreme Court has authorised fishing in Tamil Nadu’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (200 nautical miles) and the outside territorial waters (12 nautical miles), subject to some restrictions. The highest court has also approved the use of the purse seine fishing technique. The purse seine fishing technique had previously been outlawed by the Tamil Nadu administration.
A purse seine is formed of a long wall of netting that is framed by floating and leadline and has purse rings hanging from the bottom of the gear. A purse line made of steel wire or rope passes through the purse rings and allows the net to be pulled through.
What is Purse Seine Fishing?
- A purse seine is made of a long wall of netting framed with floating and leadline and having purse rings hanging from the lower edge of the gear, through which runs a purse line made from steel wire or rope which allow the pursing of the net.
- The technique is considered to be an efficient form of fishing and has been widely deployed on India’s western coasts.
- It is used in the open ocean to target dense schools of single-species pelagic (midwater) fish like tuna and mackerel.
Though India needs a “blue revolution” and modern technology, it should not come at the cost of the livelihood of traditional fishermen. A more comprehensive approach including all stakeholders and technological innovation funded by govt is needed.
Addressing these issues and challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves better regulation, improved monitoring and surveillance, and the adoption of sustainable fishing practices that prioritize the long-term health of the ocean and its inhabitants.
Why in News?
Murari committee report in the mid-1990s and the deep-sea fishing policy of 2004, though meant to revive this sector, actually led to its further decline. There was a sharp reduction in the number of large fishing vessels operating under joint ventures as a result of this policy. This left the bulk of the fishing resources of India’s vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ) either unexploited or underexploited. Also, there is, therefore, little scope for raising fish output in waters up to a depth of 200 metres.
Supreme Court (SC) has given permission to fishermen using Purse Seine Fishing gear to fish beyond territorial waters (12 nautical miles) and within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (200 nautical miles) of Tamil Nadu but observing certain restrictions. This comes in the backdrop against the banning of purse seine fishing by the Tamil Nadu Government in February 2022.
SC has restricted the purse seiner to fish on two days, Monday and Thursday from 8 am to 6pm revoking the complete ban imposed by Tamil Nadu government.
Garrett Hardin’s concept of the ‘Tragedy of the Commons,’ which suggests that “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all,” should serve as a compelling argument for authorities, fishermen, particularly purse seiners, to work together and adhere to conservation efforts.
UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Questions (PYQs)
Q. Other than poaching, what are the possible reasons for the decline in the population of Ganges River Dolphins? (2014)
- Construction of dams and barrages on rivers
- Increase in the population of crocodiles in rivers
- Getting trapped in fishing nets accidentally
- Use of synthetic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals in crop-fields in the vicinity of rivers.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Q. Defining the blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (2018)
Article written by Aseem Muhammed