The Coastal Aquaculture Act was enacted in the year 2005 for the establishment an authority to regulate activities in this sector. But, what is aquaculture? Aquaculture essentially means, breeding, raising, and harvesting fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. In a nutshell, it’s farming in water.
Saline water along the coast has been found to be suitable for practising aquaculture which produces shrimp, majorly. If aquaculture is not practised on this land, it will be left idle and uncultivated as it is not suitable for the cultivation of crops. Aquaculture can be practised on about 12 lakh hectares in the country along the coast, of which only 14% has been utilized so far. This sector shows immense potential which should be harnessed.
To make the legislation and procedures more progressive with moving times, the government is set to table the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2022. In order to expand the scope, to include all activities under its umbrella, the bill substitutes the term “farm or farms” with “activity or activities”.
An amendment in Section 4(2) of the Act proposes to set up new subordinate offices in CAA to look after the stringent regulation.
A riding 5-year validity of registration under the act has stirred a debate among the stakeholder. An amendment has been proposed to delegate to the authority to fix the tenure in harmony with the tenure of allotment of land by the government.
Read more here: The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022 Introduction
The government is also planning to coastal aquaculture hatchery activity, seaweed culture, and cage culture by exempting such activities from Section 13(8) of the CAA Act 2005. These activities are allowed in the “No Development Zone” (200m from the High Tide Line towards the coast).
Alongside this, decriminalization of the act has been proposed. As Section 14 of the Act provides for a punishment of up to 3 years imprisonment for practising aquaculture without registration.
Other structural changes have also been proposed under the new bill that will help make implementation easier and foster the ease of doing business in the aquaculture sector. Hence, it has great potential in increasing employment and adding to the farmer’s income.
CAA: A brief
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) has been a strong force in ensuring the regulation and registration of coastal aquaculture farms.
Read more: Coastal Aquaculture Authority
The act also mandates the Central government to ensure that these farms do not cause any ill impacts on the coastal environment.
Ever since its enactment, seventeen years ago, the act has been helpful in fostering the growth and development of the sector.
Read more: Regarding the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Bill, 2005. – Bill passed.
This has led to a whopping $8 billion worth of seafood export in the last financial year. Out of this, 8 billion tonnes of shrimp that were exported constituted about 60% of the export value.
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