The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act of 2005 came into force on December 22, 2005. This legislation addresses the necessity for sustainable development in aquaculture within the country for ensuring the preservation of aquatic resources for future generations.
Driven by a growing population and health-conscious dietary choices, India is experiencing a surge in seafood demand. The Act establishes the framework and functions of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority. Additionally, the Act empowers the Central Government to issue crucial guidelines for the effective functioning of the Authority.
The Act highlights the objectives of regulating aquaculture activities and mitigating coastal environmental degradation and simultaneously provides a sustainable source of protein-rich nourishment for the populace.
Table of Contents
Comprehending the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act of 2005
The act is a comprehensive legal framework for regulating and promoting responsible aquaculture practices, encouraging environmental conservation, and emphasising the sustainable use of coastal resources. Furthermore, the act addressed the complex challenges posed by seafood demand in India.
General Powers of Central Government
|Grants Central Government the authority to protect the environment in aquaculture.|
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority
Powers and Functions of Authority
Finance, Accounts, and Audit
|Outlines financial aspects, including payments, fund management, budgeting, reporting, and auditing.|
Significance of Aquaculture
The escalating demand for seafood is driven by the following two critical factors:
- Rapid Population Growth: India is projected to add a staggering 273 million people by 2050, potentially surpassing China as the world’s most populous country. This demographic surge necessitates a careful approach to satisfy the nutritional needs of such a vast population, with seafood being a vital protein source.
- Health Benefits: Seafood, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, provides valuable health benefits, including the prevention and management of diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, and heart ailments. Seafood consumption also strengthens the immune system, contributing to overall health and potentially protecting against diseases such as COVID-19.
However, this growing demand for seafood poses a severe threat to marine life and coastal environments. Overexploitation of fish stocks, with approximately 33% already overexploited globally, endangers aquatic ecosystems. To address this challenge and safeguard aquatic resources, responsible aquaculture practices are critical. Aquaculture, which involves sustainable cultivation of aquatic animals for human consumption, plays a pivotal role in striking a balance between seafood demand and is imperative for preserving fragile aquatic ecosystems. Initiatives such as the ‘blue revolution’ are instrumental in emphasising the significance of responsible aquaculture in securing our aquatic future.
Coastal Aquaculture Authority
The establishment of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority originates from the objective of promoting sustainable aquaculture, especially in coastal regions. According to Section 2(1)(ac) of the Act, the term ‘Authority’ unambiguously denotes the Coastal Aquaculture Authority, established explicitly to enforce the Act. This Authority operates under the jurisdiction and control of the Central Government of India and plays a pivotal role in supervising and executing the provisions of the Act.
Chapter III of the Act delves into elucidating the functions and operations of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority. This chapter encompasses several critical facets:
|Section 4||Establishment of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority and the procedure for appointing its Chairperson and members.|
|Section 5||Lists the disqualifications that prevent individuals from being appointed as members of the Authority.|
|Section 6||Specifies the eligibility criteria for members to be reappointed to the Coastal Aquaculture Authority.|
|Section 7||Details the rules governing meetings held within the Authority, including their convening and management.|
|Section 7A||Introduces the formation and functions of committees within the Authority, allowing for specialised focus on specific matters.|
|Section 8||Assures that the occurrence of vacancies within the Authority will not invalidate ongoing proceedings.|
|Section 9||Outlines the process for the appointment of officers, consultants, and other employees within the Coastal Aquaculture Authority.|
|Section 9A||Addresses the appointment and role of the Secretary within the Authority, emphasising their significance in its daily operations.|
|Section 10||Explains the authentication process for orders and other official documents issued by the Coastal Aquaculture Authority, ensuring their legality and integrity.|
Establishment of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority
As detailed in Section 4(1) of the Act, this specialised authority was created with the specific objective of enforcing the provisions outlined in the Act. The establishment of the authority was entrusted to the Central Government of India, empowering it to oversee and regulate the burgeoning domain of coastal aquaculture within the country.
The Act designates the head office of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority, which is situated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. This strategic location was determined by the Central Government in accordance with Section 4(2) of the Act. The choice of Chennai as the Authority’s headquarters highlights the significance of coastal regions in aquaculture activities and underscores the importance of regulating and promoting sustainable practices in this critical sector of the Indian economy.
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005, was enacted with the following objectives:
- Regulation of aquaculture: To oversee and regulate aquaculture activities nationwide, ensuring responsible practices.
- Environmental protection: To curb coastal environmental degradation caused by aquaculture.
- Protein-rich food production: To boost the production of protein-rich seafood to satisfy the dietary requirements of India’s growing population.
- Livelihood support: To create opportunities in commercial aquaculture, supporting livelihoods.
- Biodiversity conservation: To preserve existing aquatic species and protect the coastal environment.
- Sustainable resource use: To promote the sustainable use of aquatic and coastal land, securing resources for future generations.
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005, outlines the composition of the Aquaculture Authority in Section 4(3). The Act specifies 10 distinct members, each with a defined role:
- Chairperson: A High Court Judge who leads the Authority.
- Aquaculture expert: An individual well-versed in coastal aquaculture.
- Coastal ecology expert: Nominated by the Department of Ocean Development (DOD) of the Central Government for their expertise in coastal ecology.
- Ministry of agriculture representative: Appointed to represent the Central Government’s Ministry of Agriculture.
- Ministry of commerce representative: Appointed to represent the Central Government’s Ministry of Commerce.
- Coastal state representatives (four): Appointed on a rotational basis from the coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
- Member secretary: Holds a pivotal role in the day-to-day functioning of the Authority.
Functions and Powers of the Authority
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority, established under Section 11 of the Act, is vested with a range of crucial functions:
- Formulating regulations: The primary role of the Authority is to create and enforce regulations governing aquaculture operations. These rules are essential for ensuring responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices nationwide.
- Environmental oversight: The Authority conducts regular inspections to prevent adverse environmental impacts resulting from aquaculture activities. This oversight aims to protect the coastal environment from harm.
- Farm registration: The Act mandates the registration of aquaculture farms to ensure compliance with the Authority’s standards and regulations. The Authority manages and maintains records of registered farms.
- Environmental conservation: In cases in which aquaculture activities pose a threat to the environment, the Authority has the power to remove or dismantle such farms. This action is taken to preserve the integrity of the coastal ecosystem.
- Prescribed functions: The Central Government prescribes additional functions for the Authority under Rule 5 of the Notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in December 2005. These functions include verifying that designated areas for aquaculture satisfy specific criteria, conducting comprehensive coastal surveys, providing recommendations for coastal development, conducting environmental studies, promoting eco-friendly technologies, organising sustainable coastal programs, establishing committees for effective management, determining employee compensation, suggesting guideline amendments, issuing directives to minimise environmental impact, temporarily closing farms for sustainability, and cancelling farm registrations for non-compliance after a fair hearing.
Powers of the Central Government
|Section 3 Powers|
|Guideline formulation||The Central Government is authorised to issue comprehensive guidelines, shaping the operational framework for the Coastal Aquaculture Authority. These guidelines serve as essential directives for regulating coastal activities and facilitating the Authority’s functions.|
|Environmental safeguard||The Central Government is tasked with taking proactive measures to protect the coastal environment from any adverse impacts caused by aquaculture activities. These measures are focused towards ensuring responsible coastal aquaculture practices that preserve both the coastal ecosystem and the livelihoods of local communities.|
|Section 24 Rule-making powers|
|Guideline Implementation||Rules governing the effective implementation of guidelines issued to the Authority under Section 3.|
|Member Compensation||Rules stipulating the remuneration, allowances, terms, and conditions of service for Authority members.|
|Aquaculture farm Oversight||Rules addressing the removal of aquaculture farms found to be detrimental to the coastal environment by the Authority. In such instances, the Government is mandated to appoint a one-member committee to facilitate negotiations regarding compensation between farm labourers and management. The specific powers vested in this one-member authority are determined by the Central Government through rules set forth under Section 24(2)(d).|
|Coastal Aquaculture Land Access||Rules regulating access to coastal aquaculture lands, ponds, pens, or enclosures, as specified in Section 12 of the Act.|
|Farm Registration||Rules governing the farm registration application process, along with associated processing fees.|
|Application Assessment||Rules defining the criteria for assessing farm registration applications by relevant authorities.|
|Certificate of Registration||Rules governing the issuance of certificates of registration, in accordance with Section 13(6) of the Act.|
|Budget Preparation||Rules outlining the methodology for preparing the Authority’s budget, including the frequency of its compilation.|
|Annual Report||Rules related to the creation of the Authority’s annual report, complying with Section 19 of the Act.|
|Financial Record Keeping||Rules for the meticulous maintenance of financial records by the Authority.|
|Provision Removal||The Central Government is empowered to remove provisions from the Act that may hinder its effective implementation. The removal of such provisions can be effected through publication in the Official Gazette. However, this power has a limited duration, being applicable for only 2 years from the commencement date of the Act. As of the current date, this power has lapsed and is no longer in force.|
Punishment for operating farm without registration
Operating a farm without valid registration is a violation of Section 13(1) of the Act, which requires all farms to obtain a certificate of registration from the Coastal Aquaculture Authority. Section 14 of the Act prescribes the penalties for such unauthorised operation:
Penalty: Violators can face either imprisonment for a maximum of three years, a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both, depending on the seriousness of the offence, as determined by the appropriate legal authorities.
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005, addresses India’s growing demand for seafood while championing responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices. By establishing a dedicated authority, delineating clear functions and powers, and empowering the Central Government to provide critical guidance, this act paves the way for a harmonious coexistence between seafood production and environmental preservation.
As India looks towards a future marked by both population growth and health-conscious dietary choices, this legislation remains indispensable in securing a thriving and sustainable aquatic future.
FAQs on Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005
Can the Central Government issue guidelines under this act?
Yes, the Central Government can issue guidelines to regulate the Coastal Aquaculture Authority's functions and coastal activities.
How does the act contribute to environmental conservation?
The act empowers the Authority to inspect premises, regulate materials, and enforce farm registration to prevent adverse environmental impacts from aquaculture.
Is the power of the Central Government to remove provisions from the act still in force?
No, this power was applicable for only 2 years from the commencement date of the act and has since lapsed.
Who enforces the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005?
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority, established under the act, enforces its provisions.
What are the key objectives of this act?
The objectives include regulating aquaculture, protecting the environment, promoting seafood production, supporting livelihoods, conserving biodiversity, and ensuring sustainable resource use.
How does the act address over-exploitation of marine resources?
The act encourages responsible aquaculture practices to reduce the threat of over-exploitation of fish stocks.
What penalties exist for operating an aquaculture farm without valid registration?
Violators can face imprisonment for up to 3 years, a fine of up to Rs 100000, or both, as determined by legal authorities.