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No Subsidies Can Motivate Indian Fishermen For Deep Longlining India, September 2, 13

For eight years, two schemes to encourage the transition of tuna fishing to longlining have been offered to Indian fishermen with 30 percent subsidies. There have been no takers to adopt either scheme by vessel owners in the country since 2005.

Of the two schemes offered by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), one offers the generous subsidy towards the installation of a refrigerated sea water system, and the other is for the setting-up of an ice making machine on board mechanized deep sea fishing vessels.

While there is a demand for tuna fishing in the country, fishermen feel that the subsidies are not attractive enough. One of the schemes encourages the harvesting of tuna in deep sea, and urges tuna vessel owners to convert their existing vessels to tuna longliners.

Deputy Director of MPEDA Goa, S. Asok Kumar said: “It might be a high investment but it’s a lifelong one.”

Of the two schemes that MPEDA implements, no interest within the industry has been shown for either. Even with a 30 percent subsidy, signing up for either scheme would mean high cost for local people who commonly have no access to bank credit and no foreign investment.

It is thought that many foreign investors do not have enough confidence in the Indian seafood sector, and have been reluctant to contribute in financing its tuna industry with fears of it being a high risk investment with little reliability.

Another scheme which promotes the construction of new tuna long liners is also awaiting takers.

Chairman of Mandovi fisheries cooperative society, Menino Alphoso said that fishermen were aware of the schemes but it is the high end investment that restricts them.