Holland halts aid for trawlers
The Dutch Ministry of Development Co-operation has refused to finance any more trawlers for India from its development aid funds until an experimental fishing programme in the country's deepsea zone has been carried out.
According to a recent press statement, the Ministry believes that new trawlers from Dutch yards, in excess of the nine already delivered (FNI February 1982), should only be financed if the fishing programme shows deepsea operations to be economically viable.
If the marine resources - particularly shrimp - in the deepsea zone are inadequate to support the trawlers, and they are allowed to work in coastal waters where shrimp are already being heavily fished, this could be disastroUs for the resource and for India's artisanal fishermen.
India's Ministry of Agriculture has yet to make a decision on the Dutch proposal, which was put forward in October last year. It is understood that the 'trawler issue' is to be discussed at the yearly Indo-Dutch aid spending negotiations in New Delhi at the end of May.
Dutch Minister of Development Co-operation, C. van Dijk, in a letter to the India Committee of the Netherlands said that contracts for the first nine trawlers could not be cancelled because of "repercussions of breach of contract" and "the aspect of employment" in the Netherlands.
Finance for building eight more trawlers for India has been suspended. But there is much more at stake, according to the India Committee of the Netherlands which is fighting to stop the supply of trawlers to that country.