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What is Purse Seine Fishing?

Dec 28, 2022

Purse Seine Fishing

Today’s edition of our Current Affairs will comprise a discussion on What is Purse Seine Fishing. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change

Purse seine Fishing, India’s western coasts, pelagic shoaling fish, sardines, blue economy, Purse seine gear.

For Mains: GS Paper III- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

About Purse seine Fishing, Significance of Purse seine fishing, Concerns from the Purse seine fishing technique, Purse seine fishing in India: Stand of the States.


Recently the ongoing case in the Supreme Court on lifting the ban on purse seine fishing has been declared justified by the court by revealing the faultlines between small, marginal, and large fishers.

Probable Question

What is Purse seine fishing? Also, explain why purse seine fishing is banned in some Indian states. (10 Marks, 150 Words)

About Purse seine Fishing

  • It is an internationally used scientific method to catch fish, particularly from the first layer of the sea.
  • It is the best fishing technique and most efficient gear to catch small, shoaling, sea fish.
  • 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.
  • Purse seine fishing deployed widely on India’s western coasts. On the eastern coast, this method was not used earlier. 
Purse Seine Fishing

Significance of Purse Seine Fishing

  • A boat that uses purse seine gear will be full of fish.
  • The method does not exploit other species, since it focuses on shoaling fishes only.
  • Purse seines can reach more than 6,500 ft (2,000 m) in length and 650 ft (200 m) in depth, varying in size according to the vessel, mesh size, and target species.

Concerns from the Purse seine fishing technique

  • A purse seine is a non-targeted fishing gear and catches all sorts of fishes that come in the way of the net, including juveniles. Hence, they are very much detrimental to marine resources.
  • The rise of purse seine fishing is blamed for the fall in the availability of small fish if the ban is lifted.
  • A major concern is the dwindling availability of oil sardines, a favorite of Kerala fish eaters, majorly due to purse seine fishing.
  • 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.
  • Purse seine gear can create concern only if it is used without any control.

Purse Seine Fishing in India: Stand of the States

  • Fishing is a state subject and the management plan for marine fisheries in territorial waters is the job of the State. 
  • Currently, bans on purse seine fishing are implemented in the territorial waters of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands up to 12 nautical miles. 
  • States such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, and West Bengal have not imposed any such ban.
  • Maharashtra has issued some orders to regulate, but not ban purse seine fishing in its territorial waters.
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.

Way Forward

  • There should be regulation instead of a ban and the government should manage the fishing boats and equipment. 
  • Automatic identification systems can be established to identify the boats engaged in fishing.
  • The number of boats sent for fishing should be decided based on the availability of fish.
  • Those who don’t use mechanized boats and use small boats should be allowed to operate within five nautical miles. 
  • In the case of the deep sea, it should be permitted to catch shoaling fish using purse seines.
  • The Blue Economy, which is the sixth dimension of the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030 for the sustainable use of ocean resources, can be strengthened.
Additional Information:

Blue Economy

‘Blue economy’ aims at optimal utilization of all sectors of the maritime domain, from living and non-living resources, tourism, and ocean energy towards the sustainable development of coastal areas.

The policy framework on India’s ‘blue economy’ is the recommendation of the National Accounting Framework for Blue Economy and Ocean Governance, Coastal Marine Spatial Planning and Tourism, marine and fisheries department, aquaculture and fish processing, manufacturing sectors, emerging industries, trade, technology, services and skill development, logistics, infrastructure and shipping, coastal and Deep-Sea Mining and offshore energy and security.

News Source: The Hindu

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/purse-seine-fishing-reveals-faultlines-in-fisher community/article66301883.ece 

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