Parliamentarians have called for major revisions to the government's Fisheries Bill.
Fisheries Bill was presented by Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Shifau to Parliament on behalf of the government.
In Parliament, this Monday, the preliminary discussion on the bill started, and many parliamentarians pointed out that the bill had to be refined. They also pointed out that the bill had not integrated any of the five fisheries resolutions which were recently adopted by Parliament.
Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed said the bill was too restrictive. He accused the 70-page bill of containing unrealistic plans and said the bill would not result in any growth for the fisheries industry if passed without revision.
Parliament's Deputy Speaker, North Galolhu MP Eva Abdulla also spoke during the committee stage about the need to revise the bill. She spoke of the need to add measures to protect fishermen's rights and provide fishermen with pensions, and outlined a system for recruiting and developing young fishermen.
The bill focuses less on enhancing fishermen's profitability and more on allocating extra powers to the Ministry of Fisheries and Minister of Fisheries, and details penalties for fishermen, she added. The bill prohibits the use of fishing nets and several types of fishing techniques such as the use of spearguns, explosives, poison or any type of chemicals.
Refusal to cooperate with law enforcement officers is punishable by a fine of MVR 200,000 and the establishment of an ice plant or fish factory without required permits is an offense punishable by a fine of MVR 400,000 each from the proprietor of the ice plant or fish factory and the operator.
Velidhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla Shafeeq said the proposal missed some of the content of the five resolutions on fisheries adopted by the Parliament in July. He said it had to be remedied during the assessment phase of the committee. He also voiced alarm about the provision in the bill allowing fish factories to be searched and seized without a court warrant.