Kerala to pressurise Centre on including fish in FTA

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 12 (UNI) Kerala Fisheries Minister S Sarma today told the state Assembly that the government would exert pressure on the Centre to include fish caught by traditional fishermen in the 'sensitive' list of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to protect the fishing sector in the state.

Replying to a calling attention motion by T N Prathapan of the Congress, he said the Chief Minister had already written letters to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath in this regard.

Mr Sarma said the government was anxiously watching the move by the European Union (EU) to import 40 varieties of fish to India as part of the proposed Indo-EU bilateral FTA.

If these 40 varieties of fish like sardine, mackerel, anchovy, cod, sole, skid-jack tuna and yellow-fin tuna were imported liberally into the country, it would adversely affect the state's traditional fishing sector, he opined.

He informed that all steps would be taken to stall the import of fish to the state and the MPs from the state would raise the issue in Parliament.

If the import was allowed, the price of the fish caught by traditional fishermen would come down, ultimately leading to serious financial crisis, he said.

Earlier, Mr Pratapan said the import of fish from European countries would adversely affect the fishermen in the state and sought government's intervention to find a solution to the issue.

UNI

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