The Union Government has taken a decision to delegate the powers of registration, survey and certification of Indian fishing boats, irrespective of their size or length, to states and union territories. The required gazette notification was issued on 20.8.2014 to that effect, by the Ministry of Shipping under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. As per the notification, the powers in respect of registration, survey and certification of Indian fishing boats stand delegated to the secretaries in charge of the Department of Fisheries of respective state governments or the Administrators in the case of Union territories. Indian fishing boats can now be registered at the ports or places in India specified in the gazette notification. Officials of the state government/ union territories mentioned in the notification will be the Registrars of the Indian fishing boats for the purpose.
The decision to decentralise these functions is in consonance with the resolution emerged at the 14th meeting of the Maritime States Development Council held in Mumbai on 7th and 8th January 2013. This will strengthen the maritime administrations of the states/union territories. The fishing community will benefit from ease of business through reduction in transaction time and costs, accessibility of services at the local level and convenience. Earlier, fishing boats less than 20 meters long were required to be registered with the state governments/ union territories whereas those above 20 meters in length were registered by mercantile marine departments under the Directorate General of Shipping. Now all fishing boats, irrespective of their size or length, can be registered with the respective states/ union territories. Guidelines are being issued by the Directorate General of Shipping, to facilitate the discharge of these functions by maritime states/ union territory administrations, in a harmonised manner.