Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

What is Purse Seine Fishing?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level:  Purse seine fishing

Mains level: Not Much


The Centre has told the Supreme Court that a ban imposed by certain coastal States on purse seine fishing, which is known to disadvantage endangered species, is not justified.

 Purse seine fishing

  • It uses a large vertical net to surround dense shoals of pelagic or midwater fish in the open ocean, and then draws in the edges like tightening the cords of a drawstring purse.
  • A vertical net ‘curtain’ is used to surround the school of fish, the bottom of which is then drawn together to enclose the fish, rather like tightening the cords of a drawstring purse.
  • It is deployed widely on India’s western coasts,

What is the issue?

  • This mode of fishing is prohibited by Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu Andaman and Nicobar Islands in their respective territorial waters of up to 12 nautical miles.
  • However, states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, and West Bengal have not imposed any such ban on purse seine fishing.

Why states are divided over this?

  • In some States, it is linked to concerns about the decreasing stock of small, pelagic shoaling fish such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies and trevally on the western coasts.
  • The scientific community argues that climatic conditions, including the El Nino phenomenon, are responsible for the declining catch of such fish in the last ten years.
  • Fishermen using traditional methods have placed the blame squarely on the rise of purse seine fishing.
  • They fear a further fall in the availability of these small fish if the ban is lifted.

How does the Centre see this plan?

  • The Fisheries Department of the Union government has recommended the lifting of the ban on purse seine fishing.
  • The expert panel has said that this mode of fishing has “per se has not resulted in any serious resource depletion so far, given the available evidence”.
  • It recommended purse seiners to fish in territorial waters and the Indian Exclusive Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) subject to certain conditions.

Way ahead

  • There should be a national management plan on purse seine fisheries.
  • Partial ban in some states may put fishermen at disadvantage in other states.


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