Port Blair, May 31: A delegation of Andaman Adventure Water Sports Association (AAWSA) led by its President Shri.M.Vinod, Shri.Saikat Biswas and Shri.Anil Meshack met Shri Parshottam Rupala, the Hon'ble Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Govt. of India on 29 May 23.

The delegation discussed various issues concerning Sports Fishing industry in Andamans.

Sports Fishing attract large number of domestic and international tourists. However, in the last few years the sector has witness a considerable downfall and hardly 10 boats out of the 61 registered boats have been operational and applied for Sports Fishing permits.

Presently Sports Fishing boats are not permitted to operate for 3 months in a year ie, Jun-Jul-Aug of every year. Since these are the summer vacation months and a large number of tourists visit Andamans during this period, the delegation requested the Hon’ble Minister to remove the ban and make Sports Fishing a year-long activity.

All boats operating in A&N Islands pay yearly renewal fee except sports fishing boats. Sports Fishing boats are required to pay permit fee of Rs.2500 per foreign national & Rs.500 per Indian guest for every trip. The delegation requested that this fee may be reduced at par with all other tourist boats.

Foreign boats visiting Andamans are allowed to conduct Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in the permitted zones of A&N Islands, however Sports fishing boats are not permitted to de-board their guests even in the permitted islands. The delegation requested that Sports Fishing boats may be permitted to allow the anglers onboard to swim and snorkel under the supervision of a trained guide. This will give them a sigh of relief from the hot sun during fishing and also enable them to explore the marine life of Andamans.

The Chatham new vehicle ferry jetty is being used by Sports Fishing Operators since its construction. Since the jetty is not being used by any other boat, the delegation requested that the jetty may be developed to cater to requirements of sports fishing operators with facilities for tourists including fresh water and power supply.

As per Shri. M. Vinod, implementation of these measures will surely boost sports fishing in the islands. It will not only attract a large number of foreign tourists to these islands but also provide employment opportunities to the local youth of A&N Islands.

Hon’ble Minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured all possible help and support to address the concerns of the stakeholders.