Fisheries Policies in India

In India, fisheries policies are primarily managed by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The main objectives of these policies include the sustainable development and management of fish resources, the promotion of aquaculture, the development of infrastructure and facilities for the fishing industry, and the welfare of fishermen. The government also implements schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to promote sustainable fishing practices and boost the fish production in the country. Additionally, the government also provides financial assistance to fishermen for buying boats and fishing gear, as well as for the construction of fish landing centers and ice plants.

Major Fisheries Policies in India

Following are the policies or committees related to fisheries in India −

New Deep Sea Fishing Policy, 1991

The New Deep Sea Fishing Policy (NDSP), a component of the economic reform agenda, was unveiled by the Indian government. Three plans were included in the policy −

  • Establishing joint ventures between foreign and Indian enterprises on a 49:51 equity basis in deep sea fishing, processing, and marketing.

  • Leasing out foreign fishing vessels to operate in the Indian EEZ.

  • Engaging foreign fishing vessels for test fishing.

The Indian government began issuing permits to joint ventures, leases, and test fishing vessels. The policy was not popular with artisanal fisherman.

Murari Committee, 1995

The Murari Committee was established and consists of 41 members, including representatives from fishing communities, specialists, and bureaucrats. In order to get feedback from various segments of the fishing industry, it was split into five groups and traveled around all the coastal states. All five groups agreed that the deep-sea fishing policy should be reviewed and that all licenses for foreign vessels should be revoked. The group produced 21 recommendations, the most significant of which are −

  • No joint venture, charter, lease, or test fishing vessel permits will be renewed, extended, or new licenses will be given in the future.

  • The current licenses will be revoked in accordance with the applicable legal processes.

  • Enhance fishing community expertise to enable deep sea resource exploitation and pollution prevention

  • Fuel supply at a reduced cost

  • Restrictions for fishing throughout the EEZ

  • A separate ministry to oversee all aspects of the fisheries.

  • Any vessel longer than 20 meters should not be allowed to exploit the area already being used by fishermen operating traditional craft or mechanized vessels, or that could be used in the near future, with the exception of currently operated Indian vessels, which may operate in the current areas for only three years.

In September 1997, the Central Government approved each and every request. The Murari Committee's recommendations will be carried out under the supervision of a small committee from the National Fisheries Action Committee against Foreign Fishing Vessels, which was proposed by the Minister of Food Processing Industry.

The Marine Fishing Policy, 2004

The growth of the nation's deep-sea fisheries has received the proper attention during the past 10 years from the Ministry of Agriculture. The majority of deep-sea resources lie beyond of the range of native boats and traditional fishing limits. This can only be profitably utilized if modernized and advanced fishing vessels of suitable size and capability are introduced into the fishery. In its 1981 Charter Policy, the government addressed this problem. The Indian deep-sea fishing sector was founded on a 1991 policy. The guideline forbids the capture of juveniles and non-targeted species as well. By placing observers aboard commercial fishing vessels in the Indian EEZ, monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) would be implemented. The Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territories' fisheries development is also covered in the Marine Fishing Policy 2004.

Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill, 2009

The Marine Fisheries (Regulation and Management) Bill 2009 establishes a common legal framework for the regulation of fisheries and the conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources in all maritime zones, including territorial waters, and the Union Government proposes to include fishing vessels of Indian origin in the Indian EEZ alongside other categories. The territorial waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone, and the continental shelf are all included in the proposed Bill 2009's scope. The territorial waters can be up to 12 nautical miles from the base line, the contiguous zone up to 24 nautical miles from the base line, and the EEZ up to 200 nautical miles from the base line (which can be up to 350 nautical miles from the base line). It intends to include Indian fishing vessels built in India, owners of such vessels, the crew members working in the fisheries and fishing on board these vessels, and their operations, particularly in the EEZ.

International Agreements

The following four international agreements that came about as a result of the Code's support are pertinent in this context for inclusion under the pertinent laws or legislation that is being considered in this respect.

  • Consensus on the application of the provisions of the December 10, 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea pertaining to the protection and management of straddling fish populations and highly migratory fish stocks.

  • Consent to encourage fishing boats operating on the high seas to adhere to international management and conservation standards.

  • International plan of action to combat illegal, unreported, and unrestricted fishing.

  • The International Plan of Action for the Control of Fishing Capacity, the Conservation and Management of Sharks, and the Reduction of Incidental Sea Bird Catch in Long Line Fishing.


Fisheries policies in India aim to promote sustainable fishing practices and support the livelihoods of fishermen and fish farmers. The government of India has implemented various policies and programs to improve the management of fisheries resources, including the National Fisheries Development Board, which focuses on modernizing and expanding the fishing industry, and the National Policy for Fisheries, which outlines the government's goals and strategies for the sector. Additionally, the government has also established marine protected areas and implemented regulations to conserve fish populations and reduce overfishing.


Q1. What is the purpose of fisheries?

Ans. The primary purpose of fisheries and aquaculture is to provide food for billions of people around the globe. Besides, it also plays an important role in the local economy of coastal communities in many countries.

Q2. What are the main objectives of the common fisheries policy?

Ans. The major objectives of the common fisheries policy in India are to promote sustainable fishing practices and support the livelihoods of fishermen and fish farmers.

Updated on: 21-Feb-2023


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