Court dismisses plea, upholds blanket ban on purse-seine nets

Upholding the ban on purse-seine nets that was imposed to preserve fishing resources, the Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL that sought to allow traditional fishermen to continue its use.
Court dismisses plea, upholds blanket ban on purse-seine nets
Representative image.

Chennai

The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy dismissed the plea after considering the government’s submission that number of traditional fishermen in the State was low and that they were not dependent on the purse-seine nets. Instead, it was the affluent mechanised boat owners who were using it, the submission added.
Noting that the affidavit revealed that the government had prohibited purse-seine nets fishing in all manner and form based on the representation made by the local fishermen, the Chief Justice said, “It has to be accepted that it is the prerogative of the executive to take informed decisions inter alia to regulate and control fishing in public interest for long-term fishing and conservation.”
The bench also pointed out that once it was evident that the executive has applied its mind to the issue that had been raised and has sought to justify the prohibition on cogent grounds, the writ court in the process of judicial review cannot supplant its view over the executive opinion founded on expert advice.
Fishermen Care, which moved the plea citing the exemption given to fishermen whose livelihood depended on the use of such nets, had sought the court for a direction for allowing expert opinion in restricting and regulating the use of such nets for those fishing only within a five km radius.
However, the bench said, what the committee intended to imply in effect in terms of exception was that existing purse-seine nets may be permitted to be used for fishing by traditional fishermen but additional nets of such kind should not be permitted in future.

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