By C. Shivakumar
The Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday rejected the allegations of former Atomic Energy Commission chairman M R Srinivasan that fish catch in Indian waters was reduced due to the Coast Guard’s inability to stop poaching of marine wealth from India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by fishing trawlers from other countries.
Coast Guard Region (East) commander Inspector General S P Sharma told Express on the sidelines of a painting competition organised by Coast Guard as part of its Raising Day celebrations that there is no scaling down of patrolling the EEZ as well as protecting the economic and security interests of the country.
“He (M R Srinivasan) has the freedom to state what he wishes to. He may be correct on the factors like effluents from chemical industry, untreated sewage and agrochemicals being washed into the sea resulting in reduced fish catch,” Sharma said.
But Sharma rejected the allegations questioning the inability of Coast Guard to patrol the seas. “I wish he had consulted us before making such statement and known the reality,” Sharma added.
He said Coast Guard has been vigilant and apprehended many foreign fishing boats in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh recently.
His statement comes in the wake of Srinivasan stating in a newsletter released by Nuclear Power Corporation of India on its website on Monday that intensive use of trawlers and other sophisticated fishing methods besides poaching of fish from India’s exclusive economic zone by fishing trawlers of other countries has reduced the fish catch due to inability of the Indian Coast Guard to patrol our seas.
On the repatriation of Sri Lankan fishermen, Sharma said that 78 fishermen who were released from Puzhal prison in Chennai would be exchanged for 63 Indian fishermen on the International Maritime Boundary Line on Thursday.