Curbing Bottom Trawling

Sri Lanka recently passed amendments to Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act banning the fishing practice of bottom trawling in their waters.

What is Bottom-trawling?

  • It is a fishing practice, which involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea floor.
  • It is known to cause great depletion of fishery resources.

Ever since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, fishermen of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority north have been trying to start fishing. For decades, they had been denied access to the sea by the armed forces and the LTTE. They began rebuilding their lives with very limited resources and huge loans. They are confronting the challenge of bottom-trawlers, originating from Tamil Nadu and trespassing into their waters.

Sri Lankan fishermen want an immediate end to incursions by Indian trawlers, and those from Tamil Nadu insist on a three-year phase-out period.

What measures taken by Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka recently banned the destructive fishing practice of bottom trawling in their waters, making violators liable for a fine of LKR 50,000 (approximately Rs. 20,000) and face two years imprisonment.

  • It was made by amending the country’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act.
  • The amendment is aimed at stopping local trawlers as well as deterring trawlers from Tamil Nadu.

What are the impacts?

  • The development could directly impact a section of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who engage in bottom-trawling.
  • They have often been found trespassing in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
  • It also sparked resistance from a small section of northern Sri Lankan fisher folk who had also begun using trawlers to maximise profits.
  • If this practice continues to gain ground even among local fishermen, the long-term consequences on fishing resources in the contested Palk Bay region will be irremediable.

The Central and State governments plan to provide 500 deep sea fishing boats with long lines and gill nets this year, as part of a plan to replace 2,000 trawlers in three years.

A Joint Working Group set up by both countries last year is in place.
Ultimately, the solution lies in the transition from trawling to deep sea fishing.
Ultimately, the solution lies in the transition from trawling to deep sea fishing.
An appropriate response from Tamil Nadu would be to expedite the conversion of its trawlers to deep sea fishing vessels, and not merely condemn Sri Lanka.

Besides the fisheries conflict, they need to discuss marine conservation, thus giving equal importance to protecting livelihoods and sustainable fishing.

Image Courtesy: marelec.com

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Ahmedabad Gets World Heritage Tag

The Walled City of Ahmedabad, founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in the 15th century, has been declared India’s first World Heritage City.

    • The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO made the announcement
    • The UNESCO had preferred Ahmedabad over Delhi and Mumbai.
    • The 5.5 km walled city area with an approximate population of four lakhs, living in century-old wooden residences is regarded as a living heritage.
    • It has now joined the privileged club of heritage cities like Paris, Cairo, Edinburgh and two cities in the subcontinent, Bhaktapur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.

Ahmedabad

The walled city of Ahmedabad on the eastern banks of Sabarmati river presents a rich architectural heritage from the Sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs, as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.

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Committee Formed to Study Legalities for Separate State Flag

The Karnataka State government has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of “designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it with a statutory standing.”

The constitutional and legal position of the State having its own flag:

R. Bommai v/s Union of India (Supreme Court 1994) case verdict:

  • The Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere.
  • This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag.
  • The national flag code specifically authorises the use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So State flag is not unauthorised.
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India-Japan-U.S. Joint Exercise

The 21st edition of the ‘MALABAR-2017’ naval exercise began in the Bay of Bengal on Monday and will last until July 17.
The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies of India, U.S. and Japan and to reiterate the strong and resilient relationship between them in many areas, including maritime security operations.

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Paika rebellion

Even before the first war of independence in 1857, the Paika Bidroha (Paika Rebellion) of 1817 in Odisha briefly shook the foundations of British rule in the eastern part of India.

Paikas were essentially the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace.

They rebelled against the British under the leadership of Baxi Jagandhu Bidyadhara as early as 1817 to throw off the British yoke.

What was the conflict?

Rulers of Khurda were traditionally the custodians of Jagannath Temple and ruled as the deputy of Lord Jagannath on earth. They symbolised the political and cultural freedom of the people of Odisha. The British, having established their sway over Bengal Province and Madras Province to the north and south of Odisha, occupied it in 1803.

The Gajapati King of Odisha Mukunda Deva-ll was a minor then and initial resistance by Jai Rajguru, the custodian of Mukunda Deva-II, was put down brutally and Jai Rajguru was torn apart alive. A few years later, it was the Paikas under Baxi Jagabandhu, the hereditary chief of the militia army of the Gajapati King, who rose in rebellion, taking the support of tribals and other sections of society.

The rebellion started in March 1817 and spread quickly. Though Paikas played a larger role in the rebellion against the British, it was by no means a rebellion by a small group of people belonging to a particular class.

The tribals of Ghumusar (part of present-day Ganjam and Kandhamal Districts) and other sections of the population actively took part in it. In fact, the Paika Bidroha got the opportune moment to spread when 400 tribals of Ghumsar entered Khurda protesting against the British rule.

The Paikas attacked British symbols of power, setting ablaze police stations, administrative offices and the treasury during their march towards Khurda, from where the British fled. The Paikas were supported by the rajas of Kanika, Kujang, Nayagarh and Ghumusar and zamindars, village heads and ordinary peasants.

The rebellion quickly spread to Puri, Pipli Cuttack and other parts of the province. The British were initially taken aback and then tried to regain lost ground but faced stiff resistance from the rebelling Paikas. Many battles ensued with some victories to the rebels, but the British finally managed to defeat them within three months.

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