Vs. Union of India & Ors  INSC 1592
(11 December 1996)
Singh, S. Saghir Ahmad. Kuldip Singh, J.
(Prawn Culture Industry is taking roots in India. Since long the fishermen in Indian have been following the traditional
rice/shrimp rotating acqua culture system. Rice is grown during part of the
year and shrimp and other fish species are cultured during the rest of the
during the last decade the traditional system which, apart from producing rice,
produced 140 kgs. of shrimp per hectare of land began to give way to more
intensive methods of shrimp culture which could produce thousands of kilograms
per hectare. A large number of private companies and multi-national
corporations have started investing in shrimp farms. In the last few years more
than eighty thousand hectares of land have been converted to shrimp farming. India's Marine export weighed in a 70,000
tonnes in 1993 and these exports are projected to reach 200 thousand tonnes by
the year 2000. The shrimp farming advocates regard acquaculture as potential
savior of developing countries because it is a short-duration crop that
provides a high investment return and enjoys and expanding market. The said
expectation is sought to be achieved by replacing the environmentally benign
traditional mode of culture by semi-intensive and intensive methods.
and more areas are being brought under semi-intensive and intensive modes of
shrimp farming. The environmental impact of shrimp culture essentially depends
on the mode of culture adopted in the shrimp farming. Indeed, the new trend of
more intensified shrimp farming in certain parts of the country - without much
control of feeds, seeds and other inputs and water management practices - has
brought to the fore a serious threat to the environment and ecology which has
been highlighted before us.
petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India - in public interest -
has been filed by S. Jagannathan, Chairman, Gram Swaraj Movement, a voluntary organisation
working for the upliftment of the weaker section of society. The petitioner has
sought the enforcement of Coastal Zone Regulation Notification dated February
19, 1991 issued by the Government of India, stoppage of intensive and
semi-intensive type of prawn farming in the ecologically fragile coastal areas,
prohibition from using the waste ands/wet lands for Prawn farming and the
constitution of a National Coastal Management Authority to safeguard the marine
life and coastal areas. Various other prayers have been made in the writ
petition. This Court issued notice by the order dated October 3, 1994. On December 12, 1994, this Court
passed the following order:- "Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt.
of India issued a Notification dated February 19, 1991, under Clause (d) of
Sub-rule (3) of Rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 wherein it
was declared that the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks,
rivers and backwater which are influenced by the tidal action (in the landward
side) up to 500 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) and the land between the
Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL are Coastal Regulation Zone. The Central Govt.
has imposed various restrictions in the said Notification. Mr. Mehta, learned
advocate appearing for the petitioners states that despite the issue of the
Notification un authorised industries and other construction is being permitted
by various States within the area which has been declared as Coastal Regulation
Zone ................Meanwhile we direct all the respondent States not to
permit the setting up of any Industry or the construction of any type on the
area at least upto 500 metres from the sea water at the maximum High Tide. The
above said area i.e. from the High Tide Level upto 500 metres shall be kept
free from all construction of any type".
Union of India and States/Union Territories of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orrisa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Goa, Pondicherry, Daman/Deu, Andaman/Nichobar and Lakshdeep
have filed replies to the writ petitions. This Court on March 27, 1995 passed the following order:-
"This Public Interest petition is directed against the setting up of Prawn
farms on the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other coastal
States. It is alleged that the coastal States are allowing big business houses
to develop prawn farms on a large scale in the Ecologically fragile coastal
areas of the States concerned in violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986
and the rules framed thereunder and various other provisions of law. It is also
alleged that establishment of prawn farms on rural cultiviable lands is
creating serious environmental, social and economic problems for the rural
people living along with the coastal bed specially in the east coast..................
Meanwhile, we direct NEERI, Nagpur through its Director to appoint in
investigating team to visit the coastal areas of the States of Andhra Pradesh
and Tamil Nadu and give its report to this court regarding the various farms
which are being set up in the said area.
case the investigating team finds that the ecologically fragile area is being
environmentally degraded then it shall suggest the remedial measures in that
NEERI team shall keep in view the Notification dated February 19, 1991 of the
Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, issued under the
Environment Protection Act, 1986 and also the provisions of the Tamil Nadu
Agriculture (Regulation) Act, 1995. The NEERI shall submit its report before
April 30, 1995".
to the above quoted order, the National Environmental Engineering Research
Institute, Nagpur (NEERI) submitted its report dated April 25, 1995 before this
Court further directed NEERI to send an expert team to the coastal areas in other
States and file its report within two months. the report was filed in this
Court within the specified time. This Court on May 9, 1995 passed the following
order:- "This matter be listed for final hearing on 4th August, 1995.
we direct that no part of agricultural lands and salt farms be converted into conmmercial
aquaculture farms hereinafter. We further direct that no ground water
withdrawal, be allowed for aquaculture purposes to any of the industries
whether already existing or in the process of being set up.
further shrimp farms or any acquaculture farms be permitted to be s et up in
the areas in dispute hereinafter.
direct the respective State Governments (the Collector concerned or any other
Officer appointed by the Government) to provide free access through acquaculture
units to the sea coast to the fishermen/tourists after hearing the parties
Mehta has contended that due to these farms occupying the most of the coastal
areas it has become difficult for the villagers to search for fresh water. The
State Govt. may examine this aspect and provide water by way of tankers
wherever it is necessary.
as the farmers in the State of Tamil Nadu are
concerned they are all represented through of Kapil Sibal and his team. We
direct the State of A.P. to send a copy or the order of this
Court to all the aquaculture farms in the State of A.P. informing them that the matter shall be taken up by
this Court for final hearing on 4th August, 1995.
may be done by the State of A.P. by the
end of June, 1995.
direct the Pondicherry Administration to send a copy of the order of this Court
to all the aquaculture farms in Pondicherry informing them that the matter shall be taken up by this
Court for final hearing on 4th August, 1995.
may be done by the Pondicherry Admn. by the end of June 1995.
further direct the Superintendent of Police and the collector of the areas
concerned to see that the order of this Court specially the directions given
are meticulously complied with by all the farms." Before finally hearing
this matter, this Court passed the following order on August 24, 1995:- "We are of the view that it
would be in the interest of justice to have full representation before us so
far individual aqua-farms in various States/Union Territories are concerned.
We, therefore, adjourn the hearing to October 17, 1995. Meanwhile, we direct the coastal
States/Union Territory Governments, through their learned counsel who are
present in the Court, to issue individual notices to all the aqua-farms which
are located in their respective territories. It may be stated in the notices
that the same are being issued under the direction of this Court. it should
also be specifically mentioned that if they want to be heard in these matters
by this Court, they be present through their counsel/representatives in the
Court, on the next date of hearing, which is October 17, 1995. We also direct the Marine Products Exports Development
Authority (MPEDA), through its counsel Mr. Harish N. Salve, to do the same
exercise at its level also. Apart from that, we further direct all the State
Governments/Union Territories to issue public notices in this respect in daily
newspapers which have circulation in the coastal areas, informing the aqua-farms
regarding the hearing of these matters in this Court, on October 17, 1995. This may be done on two
and publication be completed within 3 weeks from today. Meanwhile, we direct
all the State Governments/Union Territories not to give fresh licences/permission
for setting up/establishment of any aqua-farm in their respective Territories
till further orders." Coastal Pollution, universally, is an emerging
as India is concerned it has already become
a serious environmental problem. Besides direct dumping of waste materials in
the seas discharge through marine outfalls, large volumes of untreated of
semi-treated waste generated in various land-based sources/activities
ultimately find way to the seas. The coastal waters directly receive the inland
waters, by way of surface run-off and land-drainage, ladden with myriad of
refuse materials - the rejects or wastes of the civilisation. Apart from inputs
from rivers and effluent-outfalls, the coastal areas are subject to intensive
fishing, navigational activities, recreations, ports, industrial discharge and harbours
which are causative factors of water quality degradation to varying degrees.
to the open sea, the changes in the quality of coastal waters, are much greater
due to river discharges under tidal conditions.
noticeable increase in marine pollution and the consequential decline in marine
resources, serious concern was expressed in the United Nations' Conference on
Human Environments in Stockholm (1972) attracting global attention
towards the urgent need of identifying the critically polluted areas of the
marine environments, specially in coastal waters, for urgent remedial actions.
The Conference unanimously resolved that the littoral States should take early
action at their National level for assessment and control of marine pollution
from all sources and carry out systematic monitoring to ascertain the efficacy
of the pollution regulatory actions taken by them. In the background of the
Stockholm Conference and in view of 1982 Convention on the "Law of the
Sea" defining jurisdiction of territorial waters, a model comprehensive
Action Plan has been evolved under the United Nations' Environment Programme
(UNEP). Keeping with the international commitments and in greater National
interest, the Government of India and the Governments of the coastal States are
under a legal obligation to control marine pollution and protect the
to the facts placed on record by the Central Pollution Control Board the Board
the coastline of India's mainland is about 6000 km long.
But or the total landmass of about 3.28 million sq. kms nearly 0.15 million sq.
kms of coastal land-belt (considering 25 km landward distance) girdles three
sides of the Country's sea front which in turn underlays about 3.13 million sq.
km sea-bed upto the territorial limit. The Country being riverine, has 14
major, 44 medium and 55 minor rivers which discharge annually about 1566
thousand million cubic meters of water through land drainage into the seas
transporting a wide range of pollutants generated by land-based activities.
Nine out of fourteen major rivers meet the sea in the east coast (Brahmaputra through Bangladesh) and the remaining five in the west
coast (Indus through Pakistan).
land drainage, there are large number or marine coastal out falls discharging
directly or indirectly industrial and municipal effluents into seas.
Uncontrolled disposal of land-based waste into the seas, through rivers and
effluent outfalls, is a major cause of pollution of coastal waters. There are
nine coastal States and one Union Territory (UT) in India namely, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry
(UT), Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal, More than one-fourth of the total population of the country is settled
in the coastal areas. The Board in its report regarding "Pollution
Potential of Industries in Coastal Areas of India" dated November, 1995
gives the following date regarding aquaculture farms:
effluent generation from aquaculture farms in the east coast only, in absence
of data on west coast farms, is to the tune of 2.37 million cubic meters per
day, out of which Andhra Pradesh has the lion share of about 2.12 million cubic
meters per day.... It may be noted that in all the States, in most cases, the
effluent discharge is indirect (through estuaries, creeks, canals, harbours).
It may also be noteworthy that the effluents from aquaculture farms are
discharged directly/indirectly into the coastal waters practically without any
treatment. For disposal of solid waste, on the other hand, open dumping and
land filling is a common practice." In marine pollution control utmost
importance has t b given to the beaches. The beaches and other areas of special
interest are to be maintained aesthetically and at permissible levels of
enteric bacteria. Protection of ecologically sensitive areas and land-sea
interface resource areas is equally important. The Central Board for the
Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (Central Board) in its report
"coastal pollution control series COPOCS/1/1982" recommended as
under:- "- the mangrove forest at Pichavaram, the bird sanctuary and
forest areas at Point Calimere and Coral reef at Mandapam are ecologically sensitive
areas warranting special watch and preservation.
recreational coastal portions of some sector of the stretch under investigation
such as Marine and Elliot beaches at Madras, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry beach
at Pondicherry and Poompuhar at the confluence of the river Cauvery with the
sea are to be maintained at appropriate quality level.
Continuous monitoring of the coastal waters especially heavy metals and
pesticides in the biota should be carried out to detect possible biomagnification
of some toxic chemicals and to provide early warning." The Central Board
in its report "Coastal Pollution Control Series COPOCS/S/1986-87"
sought protection of the ecologically fragile areas in the following terms:-
"The mangrove forest and the wildlife sanctuary in Coringa Island, the Pulicat lake and the bird sanctuary at Nelapattu are
the ecologically sensitive areas warranting special attention and protection.
No industrial activity which may pose a danger to the ecosystem in these areas
should be permitted.
Lake Area, Machilipatnam, Naupada and Ichapuram, salt pan irrigation is practised.
No water polluting industry should be allowed nearby.
domestic sewage and the industrial effluents entering the Kolleru Lake through various drains be properly treated so that no
pollutants enter the coastal water through Upputeru drain".
are basically marine. Shrimp are also called Prawns. In commercial jargon,
marine prawns are referred to as shrimps and freshwater ones as prawns. Prawns
and shrimps are invertebrates and are decided crustaceans. Sea is their home
and they grow to adulthood and breed in the sea. The progeny start their life
by drifting into estuaries and such other brackishwater areas for feeding. In
about 4-6 months the larvae grow into adolescence and go back to their real
home of birth, the sea.
has been practised for many centuries by small farmers and fisher folk in Asia to improve their living conditions. However, there
is a vast difference between eh traditional methods and the new commercialised
system. The traditional aquaculture, including shrimp, is usually small-scale,
using low inputs and relies on natural tidal action for water-exchange. In some
countries, such as India, Bangladesh and Thailand, there is a tradition of
rice/shrimp rotating, with rice grown part of the year and shrimp and other
fish species cultured the rest of the year.
antibiotics and processed feeds are not used in the traditional method. In this
low-yield, natural method, the harvest is small but sustainable over long
periods. It has no adverse affect on the environment and ecology. The modern
method, on the other hand, is larger is scale and intensive or semi-intensive
in nature. It is owned and operated by commercial and often foreign-owned
companies which mainly export the shrimp. In intensive aquaculture, selected
species are bred using a dense stocking rate. To maintain the very crowded
shrimp population and attain higher production efficiency, artificial feed,
chemical additives and antibiotics are used.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAU) - an organ of United Nations Organisation
(UNU) - published a report in April, 1995 on a Regional Study and workshop on
the Environmental Assessment and Management or Aquaculture Development. Copy of
the report has need placed on record by Mr. Santosh Hedge, learned counsel for
the State of Karnataka. India was one of the 16 countries participated in the workshop.
Dr. K. Alagarswami, Director, Central institute of Brackishwater
Aquaculture, Madras presented a paper titled "the
current status of aquaculture in India, the present phase of development and future growth potential". (hereinafter
called Alagarswami report). It has been published as an Annexure to the
workshop-report published by the FAO. Para
5.1.2 of Alagarswami report gives various types of technologies adopted by the
aquaculture industry in India. It would be useful to reproduce
the same hereunder:- "5.1.2 Types of technology - changes in technology
with time Traditional: Practised in West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa, also
adopted in some areas of Orissa. Coastal low-living areas with tidal effects
along estuaries, creeks and canals; impoundments of vast areas ranging from
2-200 ha in size. Characteristics; fully tidally-fed; salinity variations
according to monsoon regime; seed resource of mixed species from the adjoining
creeks and canals by auto-stocking; dependent on natural food; water intake and
draining managed through sluice gates depending on local tidal effect; no
feeding; periodic harvesting during full and new moon periods;
at sluice gates by traps and by bag nets; seasonal fields alternating paddy
(monsoon) crop with shrimp/fish crop (inter monsoon); fields called locally as bheries,
pokkali fields and Khazan lands.
traditional: System as above but with stock entry control; supplementary
stocking with desired species of shrimp seed (P. monodon or P. indicus); practised
in ponos of smaller area 2-5 ha.
: New pond systems; 1-2 ha ponds; tidally fed; no water exchange, stocking with
seed; local feeds such as claims, snails and pond-side prepared feed with
fishmeal, sova, oilcake, cereal flour etc.; wet dough ball form;
density around 20,000/ha.
Extensive System as above;
preparation with tilling, liming and fertilisation; some water exchange with pumpsets;
feeds indigenous or imported; stocking density around 50,000/ha.
New pond system;
0.25 to 1.0 has in size;
ground with supply and drainage canals; pond preparation methods carefully
followed; regular and periodic water exchange as required; pond aerators
(paddle wheel) at 8 per ha; generally imported feed with FCR better than 1:1.5
or high energy indigenous feeds; application of drugs and chemicals when need
arises; regular monitoring and management stocking density 15-25/m2.
Ponds 0.25-0.50 ha in size; management practices as above; 4 aerators in each
manipulation as possible;
drainage system to remove accumulated sludge; imported feed;
and chemicals used as prophylactic measures; control and management; stocking
density 20-35/m2 Changes in technology: As already indicated. The initial
concept and practice was to develop tide-red systems, this slowly gave way to a
pump-fed systems. Presently, the emphasis is on seawater based farming systems
for P. monodon with a water intake system extending far into the sea with
submerged pipelines, pier system and gravity flow. From sandy clay soils, the
present coastal farms are located in sandy soils also with seepage control
provisions." Alagarswami report further states as under:- "The
Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India issued a Notification
S.U. No.114 (E) in 1991, under "The Environment (Protection) Act,
1986" declaring coastal stretches as Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) and
regulating activities in the CRZ.
Notification ha simplications for coastal aquaculture, particularly those
activities within 500 m from the High Tide Line.... No regulations to control
the use of chemicals and drugs exist. Pollution Control Board general
regulations on effluent discharges include hazardous substances, but they are
not specific to aquaculture. In some regions, there is indiscriminate use of
chemicals and pesticides, particularly in shrimp farms....
the Notification of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, each maritime
State is expected to have its own coastal zone management plan, which would
consider aquaculture zonation requirements, along with shoreline development.
The zone up to 500 metres from the waterline along the sea is restricted
against any construction activity." Alagarswami report high lights various
environmental and social problems created by the Coastal Acquaculture. The
relevant part of the report is as under:- "Physical factors Shrimp farming
along the coastal area of the whole country is developing at a rapid rate. Huge
cylone protection dykes and peripheral dykes are constructed by the shrimp
farmers. In many cases as in Kandleru creek (Andhra Pradesh), the farm areas
are the natural drainage areas for floods.
physical obstruction caused by the dykes, the natural drain is blocked and
flood water acumulates in the hinterland villages.
are being made by people in some of the villages against such dykes. The ponds
are constructed right on the bank of the creeks without leaving any area for
draining of flood water.
of passage of coastal fishermen The shrimp farms do not provide access to the
beach for traditional fishermen who have to reach the sea from their villages.
As farms are located and entry is restricted, the fishermen have to take a
longer route to the sea for their operations. This is being objected to by traditional
water problems The Corporate sector has purchased vast areas adjoining the
villages which, in some cases, include drinking water public wells of the
villages. The villagers cannot use these wells anymore as they are located in
private land owned by the farmers. This is causing social problems.
It is reported that salinisation of land is spreading further landwards and the
wells yield only saline water. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh protests have
been voiced against salinisation. Some of the socially conscious shrimp farm
operators are providing drinking water to the affected villages by laying a
pipeline from their own freshwater source wherever available. Apart from wells.
The agricultural farms adjoining the shrimp farms are reported to be affected.
However, there is increasing conversion of paddv fields as in the Bhimavaram
area of Andhra Pradesh and even on the fringes of Chilka Lake into shrimp farms.
areas The status report on mangroves of India published by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (GO1, 198/) is
shown in Table 5. In the earlier years, vast areas of mangrove were destroyed
for agriculture, aquaculture and other uses. In the more recent years, the
mangroves have been protected by law.
the satellite imagery pictures show destruction of mangroves in Krishna and Guntur Districts of Andhra
Pradesh for construction of shrimp farms.
State is planning major shrimp culture programmes in the Narmada region
adjoining Gulf at Cambay. Protection of mangroves should receive attention.
report further indicates that the demand for shrimp seed is growing with the
expansion of shrimp culture and hatchery production is unable to meet it.
of natural seed resources is growing unabated, particularly in West Bengal, Orissa
and Andhra Pradesh.
of fry by-catch are discarded by the fry collectors because their value is
insignificant. The report states "elimination of fry in the fry by-catch
is not only detrimental to the predators thriving on them, but it also creates
an ecological imbalance".
by the environmentally conscious people of the coastal-areas against polluting acquaculture
technologies has been noticed by Alagaswamy report as under:- People's
awareness People in general have become aware of the environmental issues
related to aquaculture. A current case in point is the agitation against a
large commercial farm coming up in Chilka Lake (Orissa). People have demanded
an EIA of the project.
in Nellore District in Andhra Pradesh have raised environmental issues and
called for adoption or environmentally- friendly technologies and rejection of
"imported" technologies from regions which have suffered
environmental damage. Protests have been voiced by the local people in Tuticorin
area in Tamil Nadu. Both print and visual media take up environmental issues
with a great deal of zeal. This appears to augur well for regulating coastal
shrimp farming with eco-friendliness".
technique and the pollutants generated by such farming have been noticed by Alagaswamy
in the following words:- "In intensive farming, stocking densities are on
the increase. In one instance, P. Indicus was stocked at 70 post larvae/m2, almost
reaching the levels of Taiwan before the disease outbreak in 1988. This
necessitates heavy inputs of high energy feeds, the use of drugs and chemicals
and good water exchange. The organic load and accumulation of metabolites in
the water drained into the sea should be very high as could be seen from the
dark-brown colour and consistency of the drain water." The Alagaswamy
report further states that paddy fields are being converted to shrimp farms, as
in some parts of Andhra Pradesh (e.g. Bhimavarami, Some paddv lands along the
fringe of Chilka Lake have been last to shrimp farming.
report suggests future management strategies - quoted hereunder - for farms and
Government in resolving any conflicts or environmental problems:- "As shrimpfarming
is developing fast, the following strategies have been developed for avoiding
problems which have arisen in other countries (or reducing their impact):
India needs to boost production of shrimp through aquaculture with environment
and development as a unified motto.
Since the area available is vast, this can be achieved by application of
environmentally - friendly technologies for optimal production rates against
maximum production rates.
Sustainable development or shrimp aquaculture should be guided by the
principles of social equity, nutritional security, environmental protection and
economic development with a holistic approach to achieve long-term benefits.
definitions and parameters of extensive, semi-intensive and intensive culture
systems as suited to Indian conditions and Government policies rather than
copying models of other countries (particularly those which have rushed and
suffered) and the development or guidelines thereof.
Diversification of species among shrimps and to integrate fish wherever
possible to suit the different agro-climatic and aquatic zones of the country.
Careful development of Coastal Zone Management Plans under CRZ to meet the
requirements of coastal aquaculture development plans with some flexibility (as
required) for specific areas.
of aquaculture zones or careful consideration and provision of buffer zones
against possible impact on other land uses: also intermediate buffer zones
within aquaculture zones.
Consideration of the living, social and vocational needs of local people in
villages/towns in aquaculture plans in order to avoid conflicts.
Development of sets or regulations on use/ban of drugs and chemicals, including
antibiotics, in hatcheries and farms; on abstraction of groundwater and salinisation
Development of standards for effluent discharge as applicable to local
Development of viable technologies for secondary aquaculture to gainfully utilise
nutrient enriched farm effluents and encourage farmers to adopt such
technologies with the necessary support.
view of the fact that coastal farms are located generally in remote areas and
cannot be monitored by external agencies on a reasonably effective basis,
farmers/group of farmers should equip themselves with facilities to monitor
possible important parameters at periodic intervals and maintain such records
for their own benefits and for production to inspecting agencies.
Fish Farmer Development Agencies to be strengthened in all respects, including
environmental management and disease diagnosis, prevention and control, through
appropriate training and setting up district level laboratories for essential
analytical and diagnostic work.
Manpower development at managerial and technical level.
Research-extension-farmer group meet for appropriate technologies and feedback.
Effective monitoring and enforcement of regulations, use of nets and fishing in
any specified water for a period not exceeding two years. Thus, legal
provisions were made on fisheries matters in India nearly a century ago" Alagarswami's
report identifies salinisation or land salinisation of drinking water wells,
obstruction of natural drainage of flood water, passage of access to sea by fishermen
and public, self-pollution or ponds, pollution of source water, destruction or
mangroves land subsidence and pressure on wild seen resources and consequences
thereof as environmental issues in shrimp culture. Para 6.2 of the report lists the following preventive
Aquaculture units causing harmful changes to the environment; and
Non-aqua culturists from modifying the environment to the detriment of
aquaculture production units.
Enforcement of legal provisions under the relevant Acts of the Government.
regulations to consider specific needs of aquaculture as an expanding
production activity and the Coastal Zone Management Plans of the States/Union
Territories to carefully plan taking into consideration present situation and
Early development of regulations on permissible levels of most significant
parameters of water quality keeping in view the limited intervention of
aquaculture for promoting growth of stock in the medium.
Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP) to
be insisted upon for larger units and self assessment/monitoring for smaller
units, subject to verification at inspection.
and appropriate siting of farms; not to proliferate indiscriminately but to
develop in a planned manner for sustaining production (Alagarswami, 1991).
More hatcheries to be encouraged and supported to meet seed demands to reduce
pressure on wild seed resources.
Feed mills to maintain quality of feeds and to ensure water stability as
required; self/external inspection mechanism to be introduced to maintain
Mangrove forests not to be touched for aquaculture purposes." The FAO
report - based on Alagaswami report states the impact of aquaculture on the
environment, in India, as under:- "The impact of aquaculture on the
environment are as follows;
shrimp culture: Loss of agricultural land and mangroves, obstruction of natural
drains, salinisation, destruction of natural seed resources, use of drugs and
chemicals, and extraction of groundwater. Social conflicts have arisen." Alagarswami
report - quoted by us extensively - is an authentic document relating to the
functioning of shrimp culture industry in India. It has rightly been suggested
in the report that sustainable development should be the guiding principle for
the shrimp aquaculture. The industry must develop under the unified motto of
Environment and Development. Environmentally-friendly technologies are to be
adopted with a view to achieve optimal production. The report calls for a ban
on the use of drugs, chemicals and antibiotics in the shrimp culture farms. The
report clearly indicates that except the traditional and improved traditional,
the other methods or strimp aquaculture are polluting and as such may have an
adverse impact on the environment.
M.C. Mehta, learned counsel for the peititoner, has taken us through the NEERI
reports and other voluminous material on the record. He has vehemently
contended that the modern - other than traditional - techniques of shrimp
farming are highly polluting and are detrimental to the coastal environment and
marine ecology. According to him only the traditional and improved traditional
systems of shrimp farming which are environmentally friendly should be
permitted. Mr. Mehta has take us through the Notification dated February 19,
1991 issued by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Environment
(Protection) Act, 1986 (the Act) (URZ Notification) and has vehemently contended
that setting up of shrimp farms on the coastal stretches of seas. Days,
estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters upto 500 meters from the High Tide
Line (HTL) and the line between the Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL is totally
prohibited under Para 2 of the said notification. The relevant part of the
notification is as under:
following activities are declared as prohibited within the Coastal Regulations
Setting up of new Industries and expansion of existing industries, except those
directly related to water front or directly needing fore-shore facilities.
Manufacture or handling or storage or disposal of hazardous substances as
specified in the Notifications of the Government of India in the Ministry of
Environment Y Forests No.s. 0.59.1 (E) dated 28th July, 1989, S.O. 966(E) dated 27th November, 1989 and GSR 103/(E) dated 5th December, 1989:
Setting up and expansion or fish processing units including warehousing
(excluding hatchery and natural fish drying in permitted areas):
Discharge of untreated wastes and effluent from industries, cities settlements.
Schemes shall be implemented by the concerned authorities phasing out the
existing practices, if and within a reasonable time period not exceeding three
years from the date of this notification.
land reclamation, punding or disturbing natural course or sea water with
similar obstructions, except those required for control of coastal erosion and
maintenance clearing of waterways, channels an for prevention of sandbars and
all except for tidal regulators. Storm water drains and structures for
prevention of salinity ingrease and for sweet water recharge.
harvesting or drawal of ground water and construction of mechanisms therefore
with 200 m of HTL; in the 200 m to 500 m Zone it shall be permitted only when
do manually through ordinary wells for draining, horticulture, agriculture and fishering."
According to Mr. Mehta the shrimp culture industry is neither "directly
related to water iron" nor "directly needing fore-shore
facility" and as such is a prohibited activity under Para 2(1) of the CRZ
Notification. Mr. Kapil Sibal on the other hand has argued that a shrimp farm
is an industry which is directly related to water front and cannot exist
without fore-shore facilities. Relying upon Oxford English Dictionary Mr. Sibal
contended that "water front" means land abetting on the sea, that
part of a town which fronts on a body of water. According to him
"Foreshore" in terms of the said dictionary means the part of the
shore that lies between the High Tide and the Low Tide. According to Webster
Comprehensive Dictionary. International Edition the expression `foreshore'
means "that part of a shore uncovered at low tide".
thus, clear that the part of the shore which remains covered with water at the
High Tide and gets uncovered and become visible at the Low Tide is called
"foreshore". It is not possible to set no a shrimp culture farm in
the said area because it would completely sub-merge in water at the High Tide.
It is, therefore, obvious that foreshore facilities are neither directly nor
indirectly needed in the setting up of a shrimp farm. So far as "water
front" is concerned it is no doubt correct that shrimp farm may have some
relation to the water front in the sense that the farm is dependent on brackish
water which can be drawn from the sea. But on a close scrutiny, we are of the
view that shrimp culture farming has no relation or connection with the `water
front' though it has relation with brakish water which is available from
various water-bodies including sea. What is required is the "brakish
water" and not the `water front'. The material on record shows that the
shrimp ponds constructed by the farms draw water from the sea by pipes, etc. It
is not the `water front' which is needed by the industry, what is required is
the brakishwater which can be drawn from any source including sea and carried
to any distance by pipes etc. The purpose of CRZ notification is to protect the
ecological fragile coastal areas and to safe guard the aesthetic qualities and
uses of the sea coast. The setting up of modern shrimp aquaculture farms right
on the sea coast and construction of ponds an other infrastructure thereon is
per se hazardous and is bound to degrade the marine ecology, coastal
environment and the aesthetic uses of the sea coast. We have, therefore, no
hesitation in holding that the shrimp culture industry is neither
"directly related to water front" nor "directly needing foreshore
facilities". The setting up of shrimp culture farms within the prohibited
areas under the CRZ notification cannot be permitted.
2(viii) of the CRZ Notification quoted above, prohibits the bunding or
disturbing the natural course of sea water with similar obstructions. A band is
an embankment or dyke. Alagarswami report in para 4.3.2 (quoted above) has
specifically mentioned that huge cyclone protection dykes and peripheral dykes
are constructed by the shrimp farmers.
report further states that due to physical obstruction caused by the dykes the
natural drain is blocked and Flood Water accumulated in the hinterland
villages. The report notices that the shrimp ponds are constructed right on the
bank of the creeks without leaving any area to draining of flood waters. A
shrimp farm on the coastal area; by itself operates as a dyke or a band as it
leaves no area for draining of the flood waters. The construction of the shrimp
farms, therefore, violate clause (viii) of para 2 of the CRZ Notification, in
view of the findings by the Alagarswami report it may be useful to hold an
inquiry/investigation to find out the extent of loss occurred, if any to the
villages during the recent cyclone in the State of Andhra Pradesh because of
the dykes constructed by the shrimp farmers.
to the CRZ Notification contains regulations regarding Coastal Area
Classification and Development. The coastal stretches within 500 m of HTL of
the landward side are classified into four categories, namely, CRZ-I, CRZ-II, CRZ-III
and CRZ-IV. Para 6(2) of the CRZ Notification lays down the norms for the
development ht or construction activities in different categories of CRZ areas.
In CRZ-III Zone agriculture, horticulture, gardens, pastures, parks,
playfields, forestry, and salt manufacture from sea level may be permitted upto
200 m from the high vide line. The aquaculture or shrimp farming has not been
included as a permissible use and as such is prohibited even in this zone.
relevant point arises at this stage. Salt manufacturing process like the shrimp
culture industry depends on sea water. Salt manufacturers can also raise the
argument that since they are wholly dependent on sea-water theirs is an
industry "directly related to water front" or "directly needing
fore-shore facilities". The argument stands negatived by inclusion of the
salt manufacturing industry in CRZ-III Zone under para b(2) or the CRZ
notification otherwise it was not necessary in include the industry therein
because it could be set-up any were in the coastal regulation zone in terms of para
2(1) of the CRZ Notification. It is thus obvious that an industry dependent on
sea water cannot by itself is an industry "directly related to water
front" or "directly needing fore-shore facilities". The shrimp
culture industry, therefore, cannot be permitted to be set up any where in the
coastal regulation Zone under the CRZ notification.
examine the issue from another angle. Sea coast and beaches are a gift of the
nature to the mankind. The aesthetic qualities and recreational utility of the
said area has to be maintained. Any activity which has the affect or degrading
the environment cannot be permitted. Apart from that the right of the fisherman
and farmers living in the coastal areas to eke their living by way of fishing
and farming cannot be denied to them. Alagarswami report states that "the
shrimp farms do not provide excess to the beach for traditional fishermen who
have to reach the sea from their villages. As farms are located and entry is
restricted the fishermen have to take a longer route to the sea for their
operation. This is being objected by traditional fishermen".
report further highlights drinking water problem, salinisation and destruction
of mangrove by the shrimp culture industry. The relevant paragraphs have
already been quoted above. The increase of stocking densities, heavy inputs of
high energy feeds, use or drugs and chemicals result in the discharge or highly
pulluted effluent into the sea, creeks etc. and on the sea coast by the shrimp
farms. It is, therefore, not possible to agree with Mr. Sibal that commercial
shrimp farming has no adverse affect on environment and coastal ecology.
at this stage refer to the two investigation reports dated April 23, 1995 and
July 10, 1995 by NEERI regarding the Ecological Fragile coastal areas of India.
report dated April 23, 1995 states that a 13 member team of scientists, lead by
Dr. A.S. Ball and Dr. S.K. Kaul inspected the shrimp farms situated on the
ecological fragile coastal areas in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
between April 10 and April 19, 1995. It is further stated that the coastal
areas in the Union Territory of Pondicherry were also inspected by the team.
Regarding the CRZ Notification, the report states as under:- The MEF's
notification dated February 19, 1995 stipulates that the aquaculture farms on
the coastal areas should not be constructed within 500 m from the high tide
line (HTL) of the seas.
hatcheries however, may be constructed between 250 and 500 m from HTL of the
inspection team observed during field investigations that the MEF's norms for
location of aquaculture and hatcheries have been violated in the States of
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and the union territory of Pondicherry........
There is an urgent need to ensure scrupulous implementation of the provisions
made in the MEF's notification dated February 19, 1991 in the States and Union
Territory inspected by the team. In addition, the damage caused to the land and
water ecosystems by coastal aquaculture activity, as detailed in the report,
must be restored to its original ecological State. The cost for eco-restoration
of the coastal fragile area must be borne by individual entrepreneurs of the
coastal aquaculture farms in keeping with the Polluter-Pays principle........
Further, no activity of commercial coastal aquaculture should be undertaken
even beyond 500 m HTL unless a comprehensive and scientific Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) Study has been conducted by the entrepreneur, and the
Environmental Management Plan approved by the respective State Department of
Environment, Pollution Control Board, Shore Development Authority, and also by
the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Appropriate terms of reference for EIA
have been incorporated in the report." Regarding the socio-economic
assessment of acquaculture in the area, the report gives the in following
finding:- "A socio-economic assessment of aquaculture in the ecologically
fragile coastal areas in the States of AP and TN has been conducted by the
NEERI team. This assessment, detailed in the report, indicates that the cost of
ecological and social damage far exceeds the benefits that accrue out of
coastal aquaculture activities." The adverse impacts of acquaculture
farming on the environment and the ecologically fragile in the States of Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and union territory of Pondicherry have been stated in the
report as under:- "3.0 Observations on the Impacts of Aquaculture Farming
on Ecologically Fragile Areas in States of AP, TN, and Union Territory of Pondicherry
Coastal aquaculture units are situated within 500 m of high Tide Line of the
sea. This is not in consonance with the MEF's notification dated February 19,
a common practice to convert agricultural land, and land under salt production,
into coastal aquaculture units which infringes the fundamental rights to life
of agricultural farms and salt making lands into commercial aquaculture farms
is rampant in the fragile coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Union
Territory of Pondicherry.
aquaculture units have been installed in deltaic regions which is a
ecologically unsound practice.
saline canals which travel from sea to the mainland are being used for brackish
aquaculture farming. The flow of the natural saline canals is being obstructed
due to prawn farming activity which has resulted in the spread of brackish
water over agricultural farms resulting in loss or agricultural lands, and
situated along the sea coast, deltaic regions, and natural saline canals are
under threat due to diversion of land to aquaculture farms.
fishermen have lost their landing grounds for fish catch.
aquaculture has resulted in loss of mangrove eco-systems which provide
protection against cyclones and other natural hazards, and which provide
natural habitats for spawning or marine Indiscriminate destruction of mangrove
areas in and around the creeks, estuaries, and sea has resulted in loss of
natural breeding grounds for shrimps.
Casuarine plantations have also been destroyed. This may result in increasing
damage from cyclons, and intrusion of saline water into mainland.
aquaculture farms have not been scientifically designed and located, resulting
in excessive ecological damages.
proper peripheral drainage has been provided around the aquaculture farms.
saline water intake and effluent discharge points from aquaculture farms are
located in close vicinity, resulting in contamination of feed water to the
aquaculture units threatening their productivity.
types of saline water supply systems are in vogue for the aquaculture farming,
direct pumping from the sea, creek, and estuary - direct pumping from deep sea
with jetties - using high tides of sea for carrying saline water through
activities for feed water supply to the aquaculture ponds have resulted in:
of fish catch (except in the case of feed water supply through sea water canal
system) - loss due to damage of fishing nets.
of fragile coastal land.
commercial aquaculture farms have installed fencing in and around the farms
resulting in blockage of free access for the fisherman to the sea shore.
wastewater discharge from the aquaculture farms released into the creeks is not
properly flushed out of the creek during low tides thereby leads in the
accumulation of pollutants in the creek, affecting the quality of intake water
to aquaculture farm with concommittant loss in productivity, and damage to
of the native fish species due to increase in salinity of the creek water has
been observed by the team, and reported by the fishermen. Increase in salinity
has also reduced the ingress of shrimp seedlings in the creek.
catch of natural shrimp seedlings from the coastal waters, creeks, and
estuaries has resulted in reduction of their availability, which in turn has
forced the commercial aquaculture farmers to import the seeds.
management practices adopted by the commercial aquaculture farmers, and
improper design of aquaculture farms including inadequate drainage systems have
resulted in skin, eye, and water borne diseases in the contiguous population.
aquaculture farm owners have not contributed to any social infrastructure
facilities for the villagers.
avenues of the contiguous population have considerably reduced due to the
commercial aquaculture farming. The unemployed villagers are seeking employment
in nearby towns and cities.
of the commercial aquaculture farms are using various means to encroach upon
the Government lands and also forcing the agricultural land owners/salt making
villagers to sell their lands. In addition, the fishermen are also being forced
to migrate to other coastal areas." Regarding the socio-economic status of
the ecologically fragile coastal areas in the States of Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu, the report states as under:- "During the inspection of the
aquaculture units located on the Ecologically Fragile Coastal Areas of AP and
TN, the inspection team collected data and information, and discussed the
issues related to socio-economic status of the affected people with the
farmers, fishermen, GNASH, and Government officials.
basic socio-economic issues are presented in Table 4.1 which also lists the
parametric values in the assessment of the damage caused by the aquaculture
units located in the Ecologically Fragile Coastal Areas. Tables 4.2 and 4.3
present the socio-economic assessment or aquaculture in the Ecologically
Fragile Coastal Area of the States of AP and TN.
4.2 and 4.3 bring forth that the damage caused to ecology and economics by the
aquaculture farming is higher than the earnings from the sale of coastal
aquaculture produce." The NEERI has, thus, given a positive finding that
the damage caused to ecology and economics by the acquaculture farming is
higher than the earnings from the sale of coastal acquaculture produce. The
finding is based on the assessment keeping in view fourteen parameters listed
in Tables 4.2 & 4.3 regarding the States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
respectively. The parameters taken into consideration are equivalent wages for
the farmers to be earned, equivalent amount of agricultural produce loss due to
cutting to Casuarina in terms of fuel, loss in terms of grazing grounds, loss
involving loss caused by cyclones due to cutting of in a forests, loss due to
desertification of land, loss in terms of potable water, total loss
destruction, loss in rising income, loss due to damage of fishing nets and
man-days loss due to approachability to sea-coast. These losses are computed in
money are are then compared with the total earnings from the sale of coastal acquaculture
produce. In the basis of the assessment of socio-economic status of acquaculture
in a systematic manner the NEERI has reached the conclusion that the damage
caused to ecology and economics by the acquaculture farming is higher than the
earnings from the sale of coastal aquaculture produce.
6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 of the report clearly show the environmental degradation
caused by the shrimp culture farming by its adverse impact on surface water,
contamination of soil and ground water and destruction of mangrove vegetation.
The said paragraphs are reproduced hereunder:
Impact on Surface Waters Mangrove vegetation is important in protecting marine
and terrestrial ecosystem. This vegetation is also important as it removes the
pollutants like carbon nitrogen, phosphate and other nutrients, as also certain
toxic compounds. The importance of mangrove plants especially Vettivera zaizonoids
is known is reduction the impact of pollution due to discharge of aquaculture
pond effluents, and the Cavery Delta Farmers are now propogating the
cultivation or this species in estuaries. Mangrove vegetation also acts as a
barrier of floods, an provides spawning grounds and nesting places for fishes;
it also supports avian fauna (birds) thus maintaining the nature ecosystem.
observations on the water quality in the aquaculture ponds show that the pond
water harbors a dense algal bloom compared to the water in estuaries, creeks or
sea indicating eutrophic nature of pond effluent. When water in large volumes,
from the ponds is discharged during flusing of ponds, in a creek or estuary,
the pollutants remain stagnated in the estuary or near-sea coast due to the
typical tidal activity in creeks. As a result, the raw water source to the
ponds gets contaminated in course of time. The wastewater discharge from the
ponds warrant proper treatment before discharge. Uncontrolled discharge of
wastewater triggers a series of deleterious impacts, e.g.
the increase in eutrophication levels, there is a shifiting in dominance of
phytoplankton Flora in pond effluent from diatoms to blue-green algae.
Decomposition of dead blue- green algae may lead to the generation of toxic
substances, eg. ammonia, hydrogen sulphide etc.
some of the blue-greens also excrete biotoxins in large quantities which are
toxic to aquatic animals, prawns in ponds or fishes in estuaries or coastal
waters. Large amount of blue-green algae was recorded by the inspection team in
Sirkali area (eg. S&S Industries & Enterprises Ltd; High Tide Sea
farms) and Killai area (Aqua Gold Shrimp Farm;
Farm; Mohi Aqua Farm). The presence of Oscillatoria, Microcystis and some other
filamentous blue-green algae is undesirable in the pond effluent as they chock
the gills of fishes.
suspended solids released from the ponds are laden with unconsumed food and
other organic contaminants. Accumulation of these organics in the intake water
creates problems in the intake water quality when the intake and discharge
points are in close proximity.
Contamination of soil and ground water The shrimp farms are constructed well
above the ground levels. Seepage of pond effluent to the surrounding fields was
noted by the inspection team in a number on farms. Seepage of pond effluent the
soil quality in the adjoining aquacultural fields. It has also contaminated
potable water in surrounding villages.
of ground water quality in villages that over one km away from the pond sites
was not noticed. This observation is based on analysis of bore well water at
three sites by the inspection team.
observation justified the locational constraints on aquaculture farms in
Destruction of Mangrove vegetation The inspection team noticed destruction of
mangrove vegetation at most of the prawn farming sites for the development of
destruction of mangrove forest was observed hear the Aqua Gold shrimp farm at
village Vellar in Killai taluk of South Arcot district similarly on Pichavarum estuary in village in Killai taluk of South Arcot district of TN, the shrimp farms
are constructed by clearing mangrove vegetation. Mangrove vegetation in Kuchipalam
village is also facing threat due to the expansion of prawn farming activity.
final conclusions and recommendations are in para 5 of the NERI report which is
as under:- "8.0 Conclusions and Recommendations on the attenuation of the
Impact of Aquaculture Farming on Ecologically Fragile Ares in States of AP, TN,
and Union Territory of Pondicherry.
assessment of aquaculture in the ecologically fragile areas in the States or AP
and TN reveals that the cost of ecological and social damage far exceed the
benefits that accrue out of the coastal aquaculture activities.
norms for location of aquaculture and hatcheries have been violated in the
States of AP, IN, and Union Territory or Pondicherry.
current practice of installation of coastal aquaculture farms within 500 m HTL
violates the fundamental rights and livelihood or people in the States AP and
TN, and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
current practice of installation of coastal aquaculture farms within 500m HTL
violate the fundamental rights and livelihood of people in the States AP and
TN, and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
State of AP has adopted twenty point guidelines
as ad hoc measures for management of aquaculture in the district of Nellore.
These guidelines have not been made mandatory in the State of AP as a whole. Also, these guidelines do not address
all socio-economic, and ecological aspects of coastal habitats.
State Government of TN has enacted a Bill of provide for the regulation of
coastal aquaculture on April
10, 1995. This Bill is
not in consonance with the MEF's notification dated 19, 1991 as it allows the
construction of aquaculture units within 500m of HTL of the sea.
cost of eco-restoration of the coastal fragile area must be borne by the
individual entrepreneur of the commercial aquaculture farms in keeping with the
commercial coastal aquaculture activity should be undertaken even beyond 500m
HTL unless a comprehensive and scientific environmental impact asessment (EIA)
study has been conducted by the entrepreneur, and the environment management
plan (EMP) approved by the respective State Department of Environment,
Pollution Control Board, shore Development Authority, and also by the Ministry
of Environment and Forests.
lands are being converted into commercial aquaculture farms, which causes
unemployment to the landless labourers and also in loss of cultivable land.
aquaculture farms are being installed near the cultivated lands and the salt
water from the farms damages the productivity of the adjoining lands.
also gets contaminated due to seepage of impounded water from the aquaculture
of cultivable land is on the increase due to salinity intrusion.
commercial aquaculture farms, there is a loss of - mangrove ecosystems - causarina
plantations - grazing grounds for cattle - potable water to contiguous
population - fish catch - fishing nets - agricultural produce - manpower loss
due to non- approachability of fishermen to sea shore directly.
is a perceptible increase in the diseases of skin and eye, and water borne
diseases in the contaguous population.
designs of the acquaculture farms are inadequate.
provision has been made for wastewater treatment facility enabling recycling
and re-use of wastewater.
on conversion of agricultural lands and salt farms into commercial aquaculture
farms must be enforced with immediate effect.
groundwater withdrawal must be allowed for aquaculture purposes.
access through aquaculture unit to the sea coast must be provided to the
aquaculture farm based on brackish water should be installed on inland brackish
seed collection from creek and sea must be prohibited.
must be procured from hatcheries. If seed collection is noticed it must
immediately be seized and dumped back into the creek.
eco-restoration fund must be created by collecting the stipulated fees from the
owners of acquaculture farms. In addition, one per cent of total export earnings
per annum must also be collected from commercial aquaculture farm owners and
used for rejuvenation of coastal eco- system with special reference to
plantation of mangroves and common eco-sensitive zones. The wastewater
treatment system with reuse and recycle must be installed by all units. The
smaller units can form a co-operative and treat their water through common
effluent treatment plant. The aquaculture units must be closed down if the
wastewater treatment system is not functioning to its design efficiency.
second NEERI report dated July 10, 1995
states that a 19 member team of scientists lead by Dr. A.S. Ball and Dr.
inspected the shrimp farms situated on the ecologically fragile coastal areas
in the States of West Bengal, Orrisa, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and
Gujarat during May 20 and June 10, 1995. The summary of salient comments in
the report regarding acqua-farming in the State of West Bengal is as under:- -
organic pollution in creeks and estuaries with respect to BOD deterioration -
microbiological of water quality - accumulation of organic carbon and heavy
metals in the sediments of shrimp farms - Shannon Weaver index values less than
3 indicate organic contamination - borewell water characteristics near M/s
Index Port Ltd., Sarberia, Basanti, North 24-Paraganas, show intrusion of
salinity in drinking water source - conversion of land, and traditional fish
farm at M/s Index Port Ltd., North 24-Paraganas - conversion of land,
traditional fish farm, and mangrove plantation at M/s Sundarban Aquatics, South
24-Paraganas - violation of CRZ regulations regarding high tide line (HIL) has
taken place at M/s Sundarban Aquactics, South 24-Paraganas. In addition,
violations of CRZ for setting up the aquafarm on creeks have taken place at the
Index Port Ltd., North 24- Paraganas - M/s Sundarban Aquatics, South
24-Paraganas - All shrimp farms developed by BWFD at Ramnagar, Midnapore."
The comments regarding the acqua-farming in the State of Orissa by the NEERI team
are as under:- "* Organic pollution in crecks and estuaries with respect
to BOD * deterioration of microbiological water quality * accumulation of
organic carbon and heavy metals in the sediments of shrimp farms * Shannon
Weaver index values less than 3 indicate organic contamination *
characteristics of borewell water samples near M/s Sundeep Aquatics, District Bhadrak
and M/s Suryo Udyog Pvt. Ltd., District Balasore, show intrusion of salinity
into drinking water * conversion of cultivable land for the establishment of aquafarms/hatcheries
in all districts * violation of CRZ regulations by all aquafarms on creeks in
the districts of Balasore and Bhadrak.
have been constructed/under construction within 200m of high tide line (HIL) in
contravance of CRZ regulations." The status of acqua-farming in the State
of Kerala as indicated in the NEERI report is
as under:- "The comments on aquafarming in the State of Kerala are presented in the footnotes of
of the salient comments is given hereunder:
organic pollution in river, creeks and estuaries * deterioration of
microbiological water quality * accumulation of organic carbon and heavy metals
in the sediments of shrimp farms * Shanon Weaver index valued less than 3
indicate organic contamination * well water characteristics in the vicinity of
M/s Agalapuzha aquafarm, Kozhikode show the intrusion of salinity in drinking
water source * conversion of land, and traditional fish farm by M/s Vasu Aquafarms
at Kozhikode * conversion of land, traditional fish farm, and mangrove
plantation by M/s West Coast Aquafarms Irinavu, Kannur * violation of CRZ
regulations regarding the location of aquafarms on creeks has taken place at
the following sites.
Consolidated Aquafarm, Poyya, Trissur - M/s Jaladhi Aquafarm, Cherchi - M/s Keetodiyal
Aquafarm, Arookutty Alleppey - M/s Mejovi Fisheries, Irinavu, Kannur".
report further indicates the status of acqua- culture in the State of Karnataka
as under:- "Organic pollution in river, creeks, and estuaries Shanon
Weaver index values less than 3 indicate organic contamination well water charactristics
in vicinity of M/s Raja Ram Bhat Aquafarm, Hanmav, Kumta show the intrusion of
salinity in drinking water source conversion of agricultural land into shrimp
farms was observed at - M/s Popular Aquafarm, Tallur, Kundapur - M/s Raja Ram Bhat
Aquafarm, Hanmav, Kumta - M/s Shri Arya Durga Aquafarm, Karwar destruction of
mangrove vegetation by M/s Popular Aquafarm, Tallur, Kundapur was observed by the
inspection team violation of CRZ regulations by aquafarms situated on the creek
of Razadi river at Kundapur, Hanmav creek at Kumta, and Hgnashree creeks were
noted by the inspection team." The comments of the NEERI report regarding acqua
farms in the State of Goa are as under:- "* organic pollution in river,
estuary and discharges from ponds * Shanon Weaver index values less than 3
indicate organic contamination * well water characteristics in vicinity of M/s
Govt. Prawn farm, Choraho indicate salinity intrusion * conversion of
agricultural land into shrimp farm was observed by the inspection team at M/s
Sky Pak Aquafarm Ltd., Paliyam, Goa * violation of CRZ regulations by all the aquafarms
on the creeks, viz. Masem creek at Kankun, and Chahora at Pernem were observed
by the inspection team.".
of the salient comments on acqua-culture in the State of Maharashtra is as
under :- "* organic pollution in river estuary and discharges from ponds *
microbiological deterioration of water quality * accumulation of organic carbon
and heavy metals in the sediments of shrimp farms * Shanon Weaver index values
less than 3 indicate organic contamination * conversion of agricultural land
into shrimp farms * violation of CRZ regulations regarding location of shrimp
farm on creeks, viz. Dharamtar, Satpati, and Dahanu." The comments
regarding to State of Gujarat are as under:- "organic pollution in river,
estuary and discharges from ponds destruction of mangrove and shrubs in the
marine zone by M/s GFCCA, Onjal and M/s Sea Crest Pvt. Ltd., Mendhar violation
of CRZ regulations for setting up the shrimp farms on the creeks, viz. Kanai, Ambika,
and Purna." Para 3 of the NEERI report dated July 10, 1995 gives in detail
the impact of acquaculture farming on ecologically fragile coastal areas of
Observations on the Impacts of Aquaculture Farming on Ecologically Fragile
Coastal Areas of India
East Coast * The shrimp farms at Ramnagar, Midnapur district are located right
on the creek, and therefore, are not in consonance with the CRZ regulations *
No wastewater/sediment treatment facilities exist at any of the aquaculture
farms * No direct withdrawal of water from creek/estuary * No conversion of
land has taken place except in cases of M/s Index Port Ltd., North 24-Paraganas
and M/s Sundarban Aquatic Farms Ltd., South 24-Paraganas * wild shrimp seedling
collection by villagers including children is a common practice * M/s Index
Port Ltd., North 24 Paraganas has created the following problems;
of aquaculture farm is not proper, and no wastwater/sediment treatment facility
exists in this shrimp farm - intensive mode of operation creates wastewater
there is no treatment facility existing for reuse and recycle of treated wastwater
- deposition of clay in the intake water reservoir, and no proper mechanism
exists for its disposal - seepage from the bunds create additional problems
around the farm - inspection team observed that groundwater in the vicinity of
this aquaculture farm has become saline - conversion of agricultural land, and
traditional fishing farm - barbed wire fencing along the periphery of the farm
has resulted in restriction to free access for the farmers, fishermen and
cattle to the creek - M/s Sundarban Aquatic Farms Ltd., South 24-Paraganas has
created the following problems ;
of agricultural land, traditional fish farming, and mangrove plantation - the aquafarm
is located below ground level. Therefore, it is difficult to assess the
seepages from this farm unless peizometers are installed around the aquafarm -
a well designed sedimentation tank is being used as a wastewater treatment
system. However, it is not adequate. Necessary arrangement have to be made for
recycle and reuse of wastewater - no provision exists for treatment of
sediments - the location of the aqua-farm is not as per MEF notification dated
February 19, 1991, keeping in view high tike line, and minimum distance from
the creek The important areas of environmental concern regarding shrimp farming
in the State of orissa are World Bank Aided Projects - Narendrapur, Bhadrak
District World Bank aided project comes within the national park area.
it is desirable that this project proposal must be dropped. It was also
informed to the inspection team that two private shrimp farms are in operation
at present near the proposed World Bank Aided Project which must be closed
immediately, in view of proximaty of the national park - Beidipur, Bhadrak
District There are plans to construct large shrimp farms. It is necessary to
mention that this area is prorusely covered with wild sea weeds, which has
direct relationship with the ecology of the marine biota.
this aspect in view, a detailed EIA is required before finalizing the
development of shrimp farms in the area which must include private farms in the
region In addition, there is a salt dyke which prevents the flow of sea water
into the agricultural lands.
worth mentioning that more than 50 shrimp farms, 1 ha, each have come up in
this area. This leads to conversion of fertile agricultural lands into brackishwater
based shrimp farming resulting salinity, intrusion and desertification of land
- Jagatjore - Banapada, Kendrapara District Construction work of shrimp farm is
in progress. Mechanised systems for excavation, and construction are being
used. In addition, inhabitants are prosecuted. There is a signpost
"Trespassers will be prosecuted". It was informed to the inspection
team by the nearby villagers that this place was used for agriculture. Farmers,
fishermen, and cattle had free access to the nearby creeks. Now it has been
limited to a large extent.
addition, the inspection team was informed about indiscriminate cutting of
mangrove bushes around the area. This project must be reviewed critically
keeping Bhitar Kanika Wild Life Sanctuary in view Local entrepreneurs have
started small shrimp farms of about 1 ha each. This will cause waterlogging
problems in the area. Finally, the high tide line (HTL) just touches the saline
dyke. Therefore, world Bank project proposal and other shrimp farms fall within
500 m of HTL, and do not conform to the MEF's notification dated February 19,
1991 * Chilka Lagoon The silt carried by two main rivers, viz. Daya and Bhargabi
gets deposited in the lagoon. There is little exchange of water from the sea
because the mouth of the lagoon (35 km long) has been blocked by three factors,
- improper mixing, and - large clusters of shrimp farms hinder the pasage of
water into/out of the lagoon The bird sanctuary at Nalaban has also been
affected by siltation and shrimp farming activities. 35 km of the canal mouth
of the lagoon needs immediate attention, because the exchange of sea water into
and from the lagoon is vital from ecological considerations. In additions
deposited silt has to be removed, Shrimp farms must be closed down immediately
to restore the Chilka lagoon, to its original ecological condition by
application of scientific management practices * Subarnarekha Mouth A large
number of shrimp farms have come up on both sides of the lower reaches of the Subarnarekha
river to utilise the tidal brackish water as observed by the inspection team.
reported to the inspection team by local people that this has resulted in water
logging in upper reaches of Subarnarekha river * The inspection team observed
that the shrimp farming is at least three times more than what has been
presented by the State Govt. of Orissa * All the shrimp farms do not observe
the MEF notification dated February 19, 1991. The creek/estuarine water based
shrimp farms are also not observing the CRZ guidelines of MEF Agricultural land
is being converted to shrimp farming because of Land Reform Act of Govt. of Orrisa
* Artificial creeks are being constructed to allow high tides of
creek/estuarine water into the large reservoir. In addition, this factor must
result in flooding of low lying areas * Reservoirs act as a setting cum
concentration basin. Therefore, it is necessary sometimes for the shrimp
farmers to dilute this water by withdrawing groundwater, resulting in depletion
of groundwater resources in the nearby villages. In addition, groundwater has
become saline. This is confirmed by the situation in Adhuan village in Bhadrak
district * The shrimp farming has resulted in several social problems viz.
denial of free access to fishermen - denial of job opportunities - conversion
of agricultural land to shrimp farming - social displacement - salination of
groundwater - reduction in grazing ground of cattle, and free access to
creek/estuarine water * Wild shrimp seedling collection is still in practice.
will have detrimental effect on the ecology of the sea, creek, and estuarine waterbodies
* Direct pumping from the creel/estuarine water system is being practiced. This
results in reduction of fish catch and most of stopped immediately * No shrimp
farm had any type of wastewater and sediment treatment systems including
hatcheries * All hatcheries are located within 200 m of the HTL in contravance
of the MEF's notification dated February 19, 1991. It is necessary to stop the commissioning of all new
hatcheries which are not being constructed as per CRZ regulations * Intake
points and wastewater discharge channels of the prawn farms are nearby. This is
not a scientific water management of shrimp farms * It has been observed by the
inspection team tat some shrimp farms have barbed wires along the periphery of
project site, e.g.
Deep Sun Culture Pvt. Ltd.
- M/s Surya
Udyog Pvt. Ltd.
- M/s Manas
there is no tree access to creek and estuarine water for the fishermen and
West Coast * The shrimp farming activity in the west coast is mostly confined
to the traditional extensive type of farming. Limited number of commercial
shrimp farms having areas more than 5 ha, working on the semi-intensive type
have been installed in the coastal areas since last 3 years.
Though in limited numbers, prawn farms working on the semi- intensive type
specifically in the States of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat are situated
within 500 m of high tide line of the sea, which is not in consonance with MEF's
notification dated February 19,1991 * Incidence of conversion of agricultural
land into coastal aquaculture units, which infringes the fundamental right to lite
and livelihood, could be noticed in States of Karnataka (Kumta taluk), Maharashtra
(Ratnagiri district, and Palghar taluk) and in Gujarat (Valsad district) * In
States situated on the west coast of India brackish water aquaculture units
have been mainly installed along the estuaries and river banks, where impounded
backwater is being used for shrimp farming. Such practices of extensive type of
farming may not have significant adverse impact on environment due to the fact
that limited quantities of brackish water are required for recharging these
ponds, and the wasterwater generation is negligible. However, this practice of utilisation
of backwaters will prove to be unsound if carried out for large scale farms
using semi-intensive type of farming * Villages situated along the sea coast,
and backwater zones, specifically at Gunda, Kumta and Karwar (Karnataka), Palghar
and Dahanu (Maharashtra), and Valsad (Gujarat) are under threat due to
conversion of land into aquaculture farms * In the State of Karnataka, the
inspecting team observed that M/s Murudeshwar Food and Export Ltd.
units are located within 100 m of HTL The intake and discharge points of M/s Samudra
Aquafarms and M/s Skyline Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd., Kagil, Kumta are very
close to each other which may create problems or contamination in the ponds.
The prawns grown in these farms were reported to be affected by vital
infection. Disposal of sediments from the ponds was also observed to be carried
out on the side of the river * It was also observed by the inspecting team in
the State of Karnataka that aquafarm of M/s Rajaram Bhat Pvt. Ltd. at Monnavar
in Kumta taluk has been installed on the periphery of the village.
bunds constructed for making the ponds have obstructed the free flow of storm
water, and domestic wastewater from the village to sea and this has created
health hazards for the villagers. Intrusion of saline water in the soil was
also observed, and reports on damage o coconut plantations in nearby areas were
also received. Contamination of drinking water sources due to saline water
intrusion was observed * In the State of Karnataka, M/s Agnasana Aquafarm Pvt.
Ltd. has come up adjacent to a school in village Gunda, and the constructed
bund of the pond touches the compound of the school. Seepage of saline water
from the bund and subsequent damage to the foundation of the school building,
and damage to coconut plants in nearby areas was observed. Such practices of
allowing the ponds to come up near residential and public utility places must
be stopped immediately * Coastal aquaculture has resulted in loss of mangroves
ecosystems to a limited extent of the west coast. However, significant
destruction or mangroves could be noticed in the coastal areas of the districts
on Karwar a Kumta (Karnataka), Palghar & Shrivardhan (Maharashtra), and Valsad (Gujarat). Since the mangrove ecosystems
provide natural habitat for spawning of marine biota, the practice of
indiscriminate destruction of mangrove ecosystem due to installation or shrimp
farms must be stopped * No proper peripheral drainage has been provided around
the aquaculture ponds following semi- intensive mode of farming in the States
of Kerala, Karnataka & Maharashtra, and the wastewater from the ponds was
observed to be discharged into the receiving bodies without treatment * The
brackish water intake and effluent discharge ponds for the ponds are located in
close vicinity resulting in contamination of feed water of the aquaculture
units. The situation is predominant at Kumta (Karnataka), Palghar (Maharashtra),
and Valsad (Gujarat) where a large number of medium and large aquafarms have
been installed * Since large number of medium and big farms have been installed
on the coastal areas at places mentioned above, the wastewater discharged into
creeks and back water zones is not properly flushed out during low tide,
thereby, affecting the intakes water quality of aquaculture farms.
situation in the State of Goa has not
reached such an alarming situation as yet due to limited number of farms, and
abundant quantities of backwater available in the riverine zones of Zuari and Mandavi
rivers. However, future expansion of the shrimp farming practices warrant
careful control, in view of tourism potential of the State * Shrimp farming
activity in the State of Gujarat is presently confined to the coastal areas of Valsad,
Bharuch, and Surat. Two large commercial shrimp farms are proposed to be
installed in the Jamnagar district where salt farms are being
for such installations warrant careful consideration to avoid damages to the
highly ecosensitive coral reef zones near this coast.
conclusions and recommendations as given in para of the NEERI report are as
under:- "7.0 Conclusions and Recommendations on the attenuation of adverse
Impacts of Aquaculture Farming on Ecologically Fragile Coastal Areas
East Coast * The shrimp farming activity in east coast is mostly confined to
the traditional and extensive mode.
a large number or commercial shrimp farms have started functioning on modified
extensive, semi-intensive; and intensive modes since last three years * The
large scale shrimp farms and hatcheries have violated CRZ notification of MEF
dated February 19, 1991 in the States of West Bengal and Orissa * Incidence of
conversion of agricultural land into coastal aquaculture units which infringe
upon the fundamental rights to life and livelihood were particularly in the
State or Orissa * It is desirable to establish aquaculture farms on modified
extensive mode. Semi-intensive and intensive mode of aquaculture must not be
adopted in the States or West Bengal and Orissa * Maintenance of quality of the
feed, and stocking of healthy seed from the government approved hatcheries
associated with appropriate water management practices warrants proper
attention in the prawn farming activities of the coastal areas * The proposed
guidelines for shrimp farming in the State of West Bengal do not address all
socio- economic, and ecological status or coastal habitats.
State of Orissa has not formulated any guidelines related to aquaculture
practices * The cost of eco-restoration of the coastal fragile area must be
borne by the individual entrepreneurs of the commercial farms in keeping with
the polluter pays principle with specific reference to.
Mangrove/Littoral Forest, West Bengal - Chilka Lagoon, Orissa - Bhitar Kanika
Wild Life Sanctuary, Orissa - National Park, Orissa - Subarnarekha Mouth, Orissa
No commercial coastal aquaculture activity should be undertaken even beyond 500
m HTL unless a comprehensive and scientific environmental impact assessment
(EIA) study has been made by the entrepreneur, and the environment management
plan (EMP) approved by the respective State Department of Environment,
Pollution Control Board, and also by the MEF * Agricultural lands are being
converted into commercial aquaculture, which causes unemployment to the
landless labourers and also in loss of cultivable land * Groundwater also gets
contaminated due to seepage of impounded water from aquaculture farms Due to
commercial aquaculture farms, there is a loss of - mangrove ecosystem - grazing
grounds for cattle - potable water to contiguous population - fish catch -
agricultural produce - economic loss due to non- approachability of fishermen
to creek, estuary and sea directly * the designs of the aquaculture farms are
inadequate. No provision has been made for wastewater treatment facility
enabling recycling and re-use of wastewater in shrimp farms and hatcheries to minimise
water exchange. In addition, there is a necessity to treat deposited sediments
from the shrimp farms. Sediments can be converted into manure for land
application after proper treatment * Prohibition on conversion of agricultural
land must be enforced with immediate effect * Wild seed collection from creek,
estuary, and sea must be prohibited. Seed must be procurred from hatcheries * An
eco-restoration fund must be created by collecting the stipulated fees from the
owners of aquaculture farms. In addition, one percent of total export earnings
per annum must also be collected from commercial aquaculture farm owners, and
used for rejuvenation of coastal eco-system. The wastewater treatment system
including sediment control with reuse and recycle must be installed by all
unites. The smaller units can form a co-operative, and treat water through
common effluent treatment plant. The aquaculture units must be closed down if
the wastewater treatment system including sediment control is not functioning
to its design efficiency * A strict vigilance by the State Departments of
Fisheries and Pollution Control Board is required to keep a check on pollution
abatement measures, it may be mentioned that even a small, one shrimp farm can
be to i.e. modified-extensive; semi- intensive, and intensive.
strong control measures for production and pollution (wastewater and sediments)
are essential * Water (from sources such as creek, estuary or sea) cess must be
charged from the shrimp farm owners * Cultivable lands must not be converted
for aquaculture. There is a perceptible difference between cultivable and not
even if aquaculturist buys agricultural land and keep them fallow for say 2 or
3 years that does not mean that the land has become non-cultivable. Currently
almost all the farms that exist are cultivable lands except those in Midnapur
district (7 aquafarms in wastelands). Even these farmers who do not sell their
land to prawn farm owners, are affected due to lack of drainage from paddy
fields which in turn cause flooding of the crop during rainy season * The
location of shrimp farms in Midnapur district on wasteland developed by the
Department of Fisheries, Govt. of West Bengal fulfills all scientific
conditions except ;
guidelines for creeks - Wastewater & sediment management practices, and -
Mode of operation which is mostly semi-intensive and intensive * There are two
commercial aquaculture units in the State of West Bengal, viz, M/s Sunderban
Aquatic Farm Ltd., and M/s index Port Ltd., which are violating CRZ regulations
of MEF dated February 19, 1991 as discussed hereunder.
- M/s Sundarban
Aquatic Farms Ltd.: Conversion of agricultural land & traditional fish
farm, and destruction of mangrove plantation have taken place. In addition,
this farm falls within 500 m from HTL., Further, CRZ regulations for location
of aquaculture farm near the creek have also been violated - M/s Index Port
of agricultural land & traditional fish farm have taken place. Groundwater
has become saline around the farm. Shrimp farms are not well designed resulting
in seepage. Barbed wire fencing has restricted free access to farmers,
fishermen and cattle to the creek. In addition. CRZ regulations for location of
aquaculture farm near the creek have also been violated No treatment facilities
have been provided by both the farms It is necessary to review the World Bank
aided projects and commercial shrimp farms in and around Chilka Lagoon, keeping
in view the MEF norms dated February 19, 1991 in the State of Orissa, viz.
project must be abandoned as it is within the National park. Also the existing
commercial farms in operation must be closed down - Bideipur project requires
EIA studies. Several farms have come up on the other side of the saline dyke
which must also be included for evaluation in the EIA studies - Jagatjaore-Sanaspada
project is within 500 m HTL. Farmers, Fishermen and cattle earlier had free
access to the nearby creek, which has been limited to a great extent due to the
commercial shrimp farming activity. Also indiscriminate cutting of mangrove
bushes has been reported. This project must, therefore, be reviewed critically
keeping Bhitar Kanika Wild Life Sanctuary in view * The commercial shrimp farms
in Chilka Lagoon must be abandoned keeping in view the ecological condition of
the lagoon and also the location of National Bird Sanctuary.
West Coast * MEF's norms for location of aquaculture farms and hatcheries have
been violated at many places in the States situated on west coast of India The
current practice of installation of coastal aquaculture farms within 500 m HTL
violates the fundamental right and livelihood of people in the coastal States *
The States of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat have neither
formulated nor adopted any guidelines in consonance with CRZ-notification,
Ministry of Environment & Forests (MEF), Govt. of India for scientific control and
management of the shrimp farms in the respective States. These States must
formulate and adopt legislative Acts for proper management and regulation of
existing shrimp farms in the respective States * The State Government of Goa
has enacted a bill dated November 17, 1994 in order to regulate, promote and
manage the shrimp farms in this State, in a scientific manner. However, this
bill is in consonance with the MEF notification dated February 19, 1991 as it allows the construction of
aquaculture units within 500 m of HTL of the sea. The is limited to the
guidelines pertaining to the allotment of lands for the entrepreneurs * The
cost of eco-restoration of the coastal fragile area must be borne by the
individual entrepreneur of the commercial aquaculture farms in keeping with the
polluter pays principle * No commercial coastal aquaculture activity should be
undertaken even beyond 500 m HTL unless a comprehensive and scientific
environmental impact assessment (EIA) study has conducted by the entrepreneur,
and the environment management plan (EMP) approved by the respective State
Department of Environments Pollution Control Board, Shore Development
Authority, and also by the Ministry of Environment and Forests * Commercial
aquaculture farms are planned to be installed near the cultivated lands in all
the States of west coast. Salt water from the farms results in damage to the
productivity of the adjoining lands * Groundwater also gets contaminated due to
seepage of impunded water from the aquaculture ponds * Desertification of
cultivable land can result in increased saline intrusion on west coast Due to
commercial aquaculture farms, there is a loss of - mangrove ecosystems - casurina
plantations - grazing grounds for cattle - potable water to contiguous
population - fish catch - fishing nets - agricultural produce - economic loss
due to non- approachability of fishermen to sea shore directly * The designs of
the aquaculture farms are inadequate. No provision has been made for wastewater
treatment facility enabling recycling and re-use of wastewater * Prohibition on
conversion of agricultural lands and salt farms into commercial aquaculture
farms must be enforced with immediate effect * Wild seed collection from creek
and sea must be prohibited.
must be procured from hatcheries * An eco-restoration fund must be created by
collecting the stipulated fees from the owners of aquaculture farms. In
addition, one percent of total export earnings per annum must also be collected
from commercial aquaculture farm owners and used for rejuvenation of coastal
eco-system with special reference to plantation of mangroves and common
eco-sensitive zones. The wastewater treatment system with reuse and recycle
must be installed by all units. The smaller units can form a co- operative and
treat their water through common effluent treatment plant. The aquaculture
units must be closed down in the wastewater treatment system is not functioning
to its design efficiency * Drainage canals must be constructed around the
existing ponds to collect seepage from the pond which will prevent the
intrusion of saline water into the adjoining agricultural fields &
residential areas. The design and construction of the drainage canal/bund must
be undertaken scientifically based on the topographical features of the area.
will avoid the flooding of the area with saline water, and will help in
restoration or hygienic & sanitary conditions in the nearby residential
areas." The two NEERI reports clearly indicate that due to commercial acqua-culture
farming there is considerable degradation of the Mangrove eco-systems, depretion
of Casurina plantations, pollution of potable waters, reduction in fish catch,
and blockage of direct approach to the sea- shore. Agriculture lands and salt
farms are being converted into commercial acqua-culture farms. The ground water
has go contaminated due to seepage of impounded water from the acqua-culture
farms. Highly polluted effluents are discharged by the shrimp-farms into the
sea and on the sea- coast.
report titled "Expert Committee Report on Impact of Shrimp Farms Along The
Coast of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry" has been placed on the
record, Justice M. Suresh, a retired judge of the Bombay High Court, Mr. A. Sreenivasan,
Joint Director of Fisheries (retd.), Dr. A.G.K. Menon, an Ichthyologist, Mr. V.
Karuppan I.A.S. (retd.), Dr. M. Arunachalam, Lecturer, Centre for Environmental
Sciences, Manommaniam Sundaradar University, Tamil Nadu and Dr. K. Dakshinamoorthy,
a medical surgeon constituted the "expert committee" (Suresh
Committee). Although the investigation by the Suresh Committee was done at the
instance of "complaint against shrimp industries" but keeping in view
the status of the committee members and the factual data collected and relied
upon by the committee it would be useful to examine the same. The Suresh
Committee visited various villages in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and gave its findings based on the
evidence collected by the Committee. Some of the findings of Suresh Committee
are as under:- "The farmers of Perunthottam told us that they have sold
nearly 140 acres of their own lands to the Bask company and 40 acres to the Bismi
company. Evidence was also given to us showing in the lands purchased by Bask
Farms, where three or two crops were being cultivated. It also revealed that
the percentage of yield was as much as Details regarding this are found in
Annexure 15. The Bismi company has erected a pipe line till the boundary of the
farm for draining sea water. It is yet to be connected to the sea.
Bask company is situated at a distance of 150 m from the scheduled caste households.
Bask Aqua Farm is situated within 500 m from the sea and the distance of Bismi
Aqua farms is just 25 m from the sea. During our visit, we found Bask farms
engaged in construction of Prawn farms on agricultural lands that had been
purchased (Photo No. 23 & 24)
of Perunthottam village also shared before the Expert team that the yield
obtained from the fields adjacent to prawn farms were affected. Moreover the
villagers have lost their access to potable water as the water tables have become
alkaline due to the seepage of sea water from the prawn farms. Bask farms have
been using ground water for nearly two years crop. The Managing Director
confirmed this before the Expert team." The Committee visted Pichavaram Vedaranyam
on July 13th/15th, 1995 and observed as under:- "It was observed that the palmyrah
trees in this area which is the most drought resistant tree has dried after the
onset of prawn farms in this area. Majority of the coconut trees have dried up
and few remaining have stopped yielding fruits.
unanimous opinion of the people is that most of the mangrove species are on the
decline. These mangroves serve as a source of wood for domestic purposes,
grazing ground for animals, water way for locals and tourists and an important
habitat for fisheries increasingly polluted because of the effluent discharged
by the shrimp farms. They also brought to our notice the greater value of the
mangrove as a stabliser of the coast and how, because of this being disturbed
by the destruction of the palmyrah, coconut and casuarins grooves, coastal
erosion has become common." Regarding visit to Pudhupetti, the Committee
stated as under:- "We visited Pudhupettai on 14th July in order to get a
first hand knowledge about the impact of Farisa Aqua Farm details of which was
narrated by the Pudhupettai representative to the expert team on 13th July at
Nagai. We saw the pucca construction of the farm's Jetti into the sea to enable
the pumping of the sea water. This clearly is acting as a hindrance for the
free mobility of the finishing community and their access to sea and
land................All these three farms are situated within 25 m from the
sea. Further these farms are closely situated to the dwelling houses also.
Coastal Enterprises is situated at a distance of 20 m, the Farisha Aqua farm at
a distance of 250 m and Blue Base Aqua farm at 20 m from the dwellings of perumalpettai
the next fishing village from Pudupettain. There is a fourth enterprise namely Abhirami
Aqua farms which owns about 150 acres of wet land has not commenced work as
yet...........Pipes have been laid to discharge effluent either to the sea, or
adjoining dry lands belonging to the village or to the water channel used by
villages for bathing. Effluent is also being discharged close to the dwelling
houses. In particular, "effluent is being collected right in front of my
house" said Kalvikarasi a resident of Pudupettai village who made a
representation to the Expert team on July 13th. She said that "Drinking
water in the village is now turning salty".
advantages of shore seine net fishing is the abundant catch of
"Anchovy" fish which has commercially viable market. The construction
of permanent jetties has eliminated the `shore seine net fishing. Shore seine
net fishing needs uninterrupted coastline and it has become an impossibility in
Pudupettai. About 10 shore seine nets are idle in the village. The construction
of pipe to discharge effluent is a permanent one. By construction of the
permanent jetties, the natural sand dues in the village were destroyed. These
sand dunes are a natural cyclone barriers. Hence a threat of cyclone barriers.
Hence a threat of cyclone is imminent since these natural cyclone barriers are
construction of pipelines ending in the sea for pumping in sea water has
damaged nearly 10 nets worth Rs.60,000/-. Details of nets damaged is given in
Annexure 19. The Coastal Enterprises Ltd. has encroached the burial ground of Pudupettai
and Blue Base Aqua Farms has encroached the burial ground of Perumalpettai.
Committee visited the Pullicat take area on July 18, 1995. The findings of the Committee are as under:-
"Ecologically the Tamilnadu part of the Pulicat lake is important since it
has the only opening of the lake into the sea thus functioning as the migratory
route of these spawning animals like prawns, fish and mud crabs. The mud rlats
of Pulicat lake harbours a number of winter migratory birds. e were told that
the water fowl sanctuary at Pulicat is slowly being destroyed, .........We
observed that Prawn farms are located all around the wetland. In the northern
region of the lake prawn farms are situated even in the lake-bed. Maheshwari
Export India Ltd is constructing a Prawn Farm across the Pulicant lake bed
clearly violative of the Tamilnadu Aqua Culture Regulation Act. We also noticed
water being pumped out from the lake into the Prawn farms.
to Dr. Sanjeeva Raj, Pulicat lake has two bird sanctuaries namely Yedurapattu
and Nelapattu. It is estimated that nearly 10-15 thousand of flamingoes and
other rare birds visit the Pulicat lake for four months only for feeding all
the way from Rann of Kutch. Other water birds like pelicans,
Cormorants, Egrets and Herons breed at Nelapattu and feed at this Pulicat Take.
At Yedurapattu, Painted Storks, Pelicans, and Open Bills also feed here. In
1993 it was estimated that there was 10000 to 15000 Flemingoes. By 1994 this
has been reduced to less than 1000. The reason for this can be attributed to
the effluent from prawn farms which kills the organisms on which the Flamingoes
feed. The depletion of natural feed could have caused this reduction.
..........The Tamilnadu forest Department is establishing a third sanctuary in
the southern tip of Pulicat lake.
were told that due to the noise of oil engines, bulldozers and other
disturbances by the prawn farms many birds especially painted storks have
deserted this lake Dr. Sanjeeva Raj also states that Pulicat is ecologically
very sensitive and fragile. The east coast is vulnerable to cyclones, With the
hundreds of prawn farms along the coast excavating sand along the coast line
every possibility existed for inviting the sea to enter and destroy the water
table. Further, prawn farms destroys sand dunes and vegetations and in times of
tidal waves sea water could enter in a big way.
Dr. Sanjeeva Raj said that Pulicat lake is fairly shallow with an average depth
of about 1.5 m. It can be described as a saucer.
pumping of water by aquafarms up of the lake. Added to this the road, from Sulurpet
that has been constructed for reaching the Shriharikotta rocket launching site
through the lake has obstructed free flow of water. It is generally claimed by
the prawn farm owners that the land on the eastern of the road is not the part
of Pulicat lake and hence prawn farms can be constructed. This is false as all
this land area is part of the Pulicat lake. The tragedy is that if prawn farms
are erected on the higher side of the lake, the effluent from the prawn farms
will flow back into the lake causing serious damage to marine and estuarine
biota..........Pasiapuram Rajiv Gandhi Nagar has a dalit hamlet Edamani. This
hamlet had a water tank which provided water to the nearby 35 villages. The
source of water was the villages. The source of water was the village ground
water. But due to the impact of the adjoining farm the water became saline
making it unsuitable for consumption.
eminent danger by the prawn companies is to the village called Jamila Badh.
This village has 150 muslim families (fisher). They were originally living in
the land on which the Shriharikotta Space Research Station is built. These
families were relocated by the Government promising jobs and providing free
housing site near the Pulicat lake. The built their own huts at the cost of
Rs.5000 each. These huts today face serious flood threat since on both sides of
the village two prawn enterprises have obstructed the Ponneri lake water to
flow in to the sea. This obstruction due to the construction of Prawn farms floods
1991 till date every year water reaches the boundary of the village and before
it could enter inside nearly 2000 village people manudily divert the water to
the sea. Though the village people have made representation and protested to
the owners, they use their economic and Political Power to scare the fishing
People and make them live in a permanent state of fear, People also told us
that they areaffected by itching, scabies, and lever which could be due to the dischargeof
effluent." The Committes' observations regurding Karaikal district Pondicherry are as under:
quoted by the Pondichery Science Forum, :Karaikal region has only 20 Kms of
coastal stretch is of environmental significance as the area and its environs
have creeks and lagoons beaches with dunes, coasted Platns, natural reeves,
Flood plain and is also the tail end of the Cauvery river basin, Karaikal is
considered as the granary of Pondicherry and has main irrigation canals like NIni
Kattalai Pidari Kattalal and Arasapuram:.
ground water reserves of Karaikal is Frightfully meagre but for the only sweet
water aquifer at about 10 to 20 ft deep there is no other Potable aquifer. This
water source cannot be expionted continuously since it takes time to recharge
and Poses danger of sed water intrusion. Only manual hand Pumps are being used
to tap this water at Present.
in this context Karaikal is Posed with the serious danger of loosing this sweet
water aquiter as most of the small Prawn farms are in the process of deriving
water during the high tides from the rivers like. Mullaiyar, Thirumalairayananar.
Arasalar Nandalar and Pravidayanar and also use ground water for Shrimp
culture. This continuous withdrawal of fresh water will alter surface water
resources. So, there is no Possibility for the recharging mechanisms as the wet
lands near these river basnis are converted to aquafarms and these wet lands
have lost their function of absorbing rain water and recharging the aquifer
zones." The conclusions reached by the Suresh Committee under various
headings indicating the impact of shrimp culture farming on environment are
Effluent Pollution As Shrimp Culture using high protein feeds is a highly
polluting activity. Presently 78,000 tonnes feed is used in India in Shrimp Culture. This is
bio-degradable, if properly treated. It leaves behind responded solids
(organic) and the decomposition liberates inorganic N and P.77.5% of N and 86%
of P from the feed are worked and enter the pond environment. 1 ton or P.monodon
production results in a pollution load of 56.3-48.1 Kg N and 13.0-24.4 Kg P.
(Phillips et at 1993. ICLARM. Conf. Proc 31 1/1 198).
amounts of P and N are detrimental to environment ( 1994 SACMONID XVII (4);
lead to "hyper eutrophication" resulting in massive algal blooms and
oxygen depletion which are harmful to aquatic like. These blooms such as
"Red tide" cause fish mortality.
effluent quality during harvesting the shrimp is:
nitrogen 1900-2600 ppm, total 0 48-110 PPM and organic carbon 7.3-13.7 ppm. The
impact of this is the reduced oxygen, hyper nitrification, alteration of
community structure, sedinextation, changes in besithic communities etc.
(Phillips et al 1993).
"Self pollution" results from feed wasted, which becomes unmanageable
(lmre Csavas 1994. Shrimp News International, March-April 1994). Organic
wastes, solid matter, dissolved metabolites like ammonia, Carbon-dioxide are
produced. Decomposing organic matter depletes oxygen from water.
being biodegradable the effluents consume oxygen and so denude the water of its
there is oxygen deficit, fish avoid such low oxygen zones and move further away
to oxygen saturated zones and when there is oxygen depletion fish die en-masse.
village near whose coast shrimp ponds have come up - fish have become scarce
and the artisanal fishermen have to go further away from shore to catch fish.
Population of fish and their diversity decrease.
regard to farm effluents being treated and discharged into the sea and other
water bodies. We did not see or hear about any such scientific process of
effluent treatment having been set up by prawn farms.
Bask farms we were shown two partially dry sedimentation tanks.
untreated effluents from m/s Amaigam shrimp farm being discharged the beach
(not even into the sea causing degradation of the shore with dark brown, four
smelling organic matter, which is a hazard. The Joint Director, MPLDA itself
has stated that "most of the farms have not set up effluent treatment
The dominant species of Shrimp cultured is Penaeus monodon the tiger prawn and
next comes the white prawn, P. indicus. Both are marine prawns. P.monodon grows
best at salinities of 10-20 p.pt (20%) but tolerate slightly higher or lower
salinities. P. indicus requires higher salinity 20-30 ppt.
seawater is the primary medium of growth. Seawater or salinity 55- 36 ppt is
taken into the ponds. The growing period ranges from 120-150 days. Sea water is
periodically replaced. Sea water is periodically replaced. Sea water remaining
in the pond for a long period seeps into neighbouring areas where agriculture
is practiced and salinizes the soils which therefore lose their productivity
for crops and become unfit for agriculture.
assuring that the 500 m zonation is enforced it will not solve the problem of salination.
lands, inwards (towards inland) of shrimp ponds will become saline and the
chain reaction will continue. ............ Many shrimp industries assert that
they are taking only sea water for shrimp culture and do not use ground water.
Sea water has a salinity around 35 ppt. It is mostly Penaeus monodon the tiger
shrimp. This needs a salinity in the range of 15-20 ppt for optimum growth. 30
the shrimp producer have necessarily to dilute it to bring down the salinity by
adding fresh water. Let along ground water, we have even seen river water being
pumped near Poompuhar into to shrimp ponds. ..............
is not only possible but has actually happened all over the world. The Bhagwathi
Institute of Environment and Development, analysed numerous samples of water
adjacent to shrimp farms in Sirkali Taluk, TN, and found that in most of them
Chlorides exceeded the permitted limits even by over 100 times for eg.15265
mg/1 in drinking water source near Suryakumar Shrimp co. Mahendrapalle. In Kurru
village, Nellore District, drinking water became saline after four shrimp farms
were established and 500 people of this village had no drinking water (Vandana
Shiva 1994, "Social and Environmental impact or Aquaculture). Dr. Alagarswami,
Director CIBA identifies salinization of drinking water, wells, dwelling units
adjoining agriculture lands and aquifers as critical issues in shrimp culture.
Workshop on Transfer of Technology for sustainable shrimp Farming, Ms. Swaminathan
Foundation Madras, January 9-10, 1995) Dr. V. Gopalakrishnan, former FAO export
says "salt water seepage problem appears to be genuine and such area
should be avoided for establishing new shrimp farms" (Fish &
Fisheries, Newsletter No 4 January 1995). Dr. Sanjeevaraj noted that in
Political lake, saltwater from Prawn ponds was known to be seeping into
drinking water tables (COPDANET NEWSLETTER winter 1994).
We have noted the salinization of drinking water in Pudukuppam, Naicker Kuppam,
Poompuhar, Perunthottam, Pudupet, etc in Sirkali Taluk caused by large shrimp
units and also in a very acute manner in Pattinamarudur, iluticorin, VOC
district which is sandwitched between two large farms viz. DTC and MAC Aqua
Feed and wastes In a moderate 3 t/ha yield of shrimp, 4-6 t/ha feed is applied
while for a yield of 5t/ha it is 15t/ha. The magnitude of putreseible organic
matter from these wastes is enormous. Hence, the practice of discharging such
effluents into common water bodies needs to be strongly discouraged because of
the strongly polluting effect (Mackintosh. D.J. INFOFISH. International 6/92. 38/41).
Feed wastes are more toxic than sewage and this is a sufficient ground for
banning industrial Shrimp Culture.
Team found that Amalgam marine Harvests, was blatantly discharging the
effluents into the foreshore narrow sandy breach at Pudukuppam. This has
spoiled the aesthetic appearance of the beach. The area is dark brown in colour
and foul smelling. This will pose a serious hazard to Public Health. The wastes
also enter "Uppanar" stream hardly 5 m away from discharge point.
This is illegal and affects the health of villages. Settleable solids silt up
the ponds and canals. Over accumulation of detritus leads to profusion of
protozoa, and ciliates, which cover the body of Pisa, Respiratory diseases,
loss of appetite, black gill disease, shell disease, foul smell of internal
parts, tail rot etc are caused on such unhealthy pond conditions. The quality
of effluents discharged into the environment are so poor that biological
methods will not be sufficient to treat them. Most of the environmental
troubles are caused by the industrial shrimp.
coastal zone used for culturing aquatic organisms is only a narrow strip on the
continental shell and on the low lying flatlands. Hence the very fragile nature
of the coatal ecosystem is getting destroyed.
Fertilizers and therapeutants Large quantities of feeds are being used and
fertilizer applications are generally minimal.
is regularly used but continued use of lime impoverished the soil. It also
hardens the soil.
it is the use of therapeutants that is highly destructive of the environment. A
very incisive account of the use of drugs in aquaculture is available from P.
de. Kinklein and C. Michael (INFOFISL International 4/92; 45-46 1992) and an
exhaustive report is provided by Fred P. Meyer, an authority on the subject. (Review
in Aquaculture sciences Ve 1 (4): 693-710 1989). However the use of drugs has
only aggravated the damage to environment. Sulpha drugs, Tetracyclines, Quinolones,
Nitrofurans, macrolids (for erythromycin). Chloramphenicol, and dozens of
similar drugs are in use.
compounds like Dichlorvas are also used. Formalin, malachite green copper sulphate,
quaternary ammonium compounds, Iodophores, chloramine -I etc., are used as
cannot be treated by any of the drugs. Renibacterium sp is also resistant to
leads to transit of drugs and their long persistence.
of drugs or their metabolites into the environment affects the non-target
of steroids (Di-dehyl in ponds has carcinogenic effect on humans.
chloramphenicol has unpredictable risks for human beings. Effluent treatment
and self-recovery are hampered by the drugs by suppressing saprophytic bacteria
involved in purification processes. Softs accumulate drug residues.
Loss of Mangroves and Biodiversity We observed that removal or destruction of
these important mangrove habitats for establishing shrimp farms is becoming
increasingly common along the coast of Tamilnadu. From the Photographs (No. 40-45 showing the destruction of
mangroves-bunds are already built), it is evident that there are several shrimp
farms on the banks of Pitchavaram Mangrove forests a valuable Habitat. For the
farms, water intake from the habitat will lead to virtual dryness of the
habitat and the loss of biodiversity in this valuable reaim. It is evident that
the consequences are felt by the existing farms (Palmyarh and coconut trees in
nearby farms are withering - Photograph No.46 & 47).
destruction of the mangroves (Photo No. 40-42) for shrimp farm will be a major
cause for the loss of habitat diversity along the coastline of Tamilnadu. We
are going to lose a valuable gene pool and thus conservation of mangroves
genetic resources from the activities of shrimp industry is a matter of primary
Loss of Biodiversity in Cauvery flood plain and delta The stagnation of water
in this lower reaches is due to the illegal damming at several places along the
course and the obstruction of feeder canals and distributors to the main river.
considered a best estuary and the delta of cauvery are now vanished (Photo
No.48 showing the ill fated Cauvery). Also in the lower reaches in Nagai
district, Tamilnadu, low land drains regulator has been used for their effluent
release (Photo No.49) showing the block and the P.W.D. feeder canals are either
blocked by the farm owners or using as drainage for effluent release by Amalgam
Marine Harvests Ltd at Pudhukkuppam (Photo No.50) from the farms. These canals
and drains once used as a freshwater resource for bathing and rechargers for
the wells for the fisher folk in several villages now become saline because of
the cessation of flow (example : Pudukuppam village of Sirkali faluk district; Pudupettal
village Tharangampadi faluk.
collection of Peneaus monodon (tiger prawn) by children is a regular practice
in these canals now. During their collection of seeds the children picked only
the tiger prawn seeds and threw away all other shrimp and fish seeds, thus
depleting the estuarine and coastal fishery resources. One child get paise 0.10
for the tiger prawn seed and one earns about Rupees one hundred (Rs.100 per day
and 40-50 children are engaged in seed collection).
child labour and depletion of fishery resources and the loss of biodiversity in
coastal and beltaic regions of Cauvery.
grounds for shell and fin fishes are lost in this ancient river delta.
Threatened Wetlands of National and International Importance The marshy swamps
of Vedaranyam are now as threatened habitats with the formation of shrimp
culture all along the brackish water zones and in the marshy swamps
............Another wet land of national importance, which is being threatened
is Pulicat lake. Report A (1992) by the Ministry of Environment and forests,
Government of India clearly stressed the need of conserving these wetlands of
national importance. ..........In the Government of India Report Pulicat Lake
has been identified as an important lagoon (p.8 of the Report). This fragile
ecosystem has been under great threat by the industrial shrimp farming. In the
main brackish water area, construction of bunds is going on (Photo No.55 to
66). From the photographs it is evident that the marshy lands with its typical
marshy vegetation is the only area left and almost all the marshy areas are
being lost because of the upcoming shrimp culture ponds.
areas of marshy vegetation act as spawning/nursery grounds for a variety of
estuarine/marine invertebrates, and fishes. These areas also provide wildlife
habitats to several migrant birds.
Impact on agriculture Dr. Alagarswami, Director CIBA identifies
"indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lands into shrimp culture"
as a critical issue. Most shrimp farmers in coastal areas have converted
agricultural lands is the fact ponds. More relevant is the fact that shrimp
industry causes salinisation of crop lands, Seawater (Salinity around 35 ppt
i.e.35%) is pumped into the shrimp ponds. The growing period is from 120-150
days. This long detention of saline water in the shrimp ponds seeps into the
adjacent crop lands and salinizes them resulting in reduction or productivity
of even barrenness. Then this "Unproductive" land (so declared by the
shrimp industries) is converted into shrimp ponds We are concerned that
conversion of paddy fields to shrimp ponds is already adversely affecting local
rice production. In all the places we visited in NUM district pattinamarudur of
luticorin, Pulicat of Chengai MGR districts Etc; most of the shrimp ponds are
constructed on fertile agricultural land or on marginal lands where on crop is
to the recent shortage of Cauvery water (dispute between T.N. and Karnataka)
the yield of crops has been affected. Taking advantage of this, Shrimp
industries have been buying up agricultural land through inducement,,
persuasion and high pressure on revenue authorities. Salinization of soil and
water adjoining the shrimp farms is very well documented for Perunthottam
village. As per the cultivation record for land purchased by Bask farms we see
clearly that the ands purchased were fertile agricultural lands with an average
of two crops having a 60% harvest yield.
Denial of potable water "Nagai, Q.M. districts of Tamilnadu, the erstwhile
granary of South" is today threatened with pollution, ecological imbalance
and land alienation because of the arrival of large number of private companies
and translational corporations that have been investing heavily in shrimp farms
etc" (Mukul Sharma: Interpress service November 11 1994). Drinking water
in the vicinity of shrimp farms has become saline, wherever such farms were
operated. Shrimp culture may increase salinity through facilitating the flow of
saline water inland and discharge of saline effluent (Phillips, Kwel lin and Beveridge
1993.) Water samples from 7 villages in Sirkazhi near the shrimp farms were analysed
by Bhagwathi Environment Development Institute at Dindigul.
found that the water from bore wells and hand pumps were unpotable (see
Annexure) The villages affected were Mahendrapatti, Neithavasal, Pudukuppam, Eranyimedu,
Keelaiyun, Thirunagari, nirajimedu etc. This was also confirmed by the Bharatiya
Mazdoor Sangh in Kurru village.
Dt where all the freshwater wells became saline and unpotable after 4 shrimp
farms were established. The proof of this was the fast that the District
Collector, Nellore ordered the supply of drinking
water through tankers, to these villagers. Dr. P. Sanjeev Raj (COPDANET NEWS
LETTER winter 1994) also found that salt water from shrimp pond seeped into
drinking water sources. Dr. Vandana Shiva, after visiting some villages
recorded that "shortage of drinking water and deterioration of its quality
have resulted in the neighbourhood of shrimp farms".
of ground water sources may be viewed as nontradeable capital, as once
contaminated, they may prove impossible to rehabilitate (mark Eyvarard 1994).
the study done by BEDI, Water sample from a drinking water well in Naikarkuppam
had a IDS of 2164 mg/1 and a chloride content of 99 mg/1 in addition to
excessive quantities of MG and Ca. Samples collected from a drinking water hand
pump near Shriram Shrimp farm now Amalgam farms had an exceedingly high TDS of
357/8 mg/1, hardness of 7506 mg/I which is as bad as seawater. Unacceptably
high Ca, Mg and sulphate were recorded.
hand pump near the same farm had a TDS of 1466 mg/ and a chloride content of
656 ppm which are unpotable.
water from a handpump near the shrimp farm of Coastal Enterprises Ltd had a TDS
of 7694, chloride of 3879, hardness or 24/0 mq/I and so was unpotable."
The three reports discussed above give a rather depressing scenario of the shrim
industry. While the production increases and export earnings of the industry
are well publicised, the socio-economic losses and environmental degradation
affecting the well-being of coastal population are hardly noticed. The
traditional production systems are being replaced by more intensive ones. This
have been ecouraged by increasing demand from high income countries.
yield per hectare in many areas increased within a few years from an average
100 kg/ha per harvest to an average of 1000 kg/ha/crop for semi-intensive
shrimp farms and to between 2000 and 10000 kg/ha/crop for intensive type of
production. The social and environmental costs of the expanding shrimp industry
are closely inter-related.
and other types of natural resource degradation induced by shrimp farming have
been considerably, highlighted in the NEERI reports and other material quoted
and discussed by us. Social and environmental changes resulting from expanding
shrimp industry in coastal areas are largely due to the conversion into shrimp
farms of the lands, waters and forests which were earlier dedicated to other
uses. In fact, shrimp farms are developing at the expense of other agriculture,
acquaculture, forest uses and fisheries that are better suited in many places
for meeting local food and employment requirements. Intensive and semi-
intensive types of shrimp production hardly seem to meet these requirements.
forests constitute an important component of coastal eco-systems. They thrive
in tidle estuaries, salt marshes and muddy coast lines. Conversion of mangrove
to shrimp farms significantly reduces the natural production of wild capture
shrimp as well as other fisheries. More over, their production role for
low-lying coastal regions is rapidly dimnishing by their replacement by shrimp
ponds. The Sunder Bans, which constitute one of the biggest mangrove areas in
the world, covered in the early 1990s about 12000 sq. kms. in India and Bangladesh. In the West Bengal
part of Sunder Bans large mangrove areas have been replaced by the shrimp ponds.
increasing need for land by shrimp enterpreneurs has meant a dramatic rise in
land prices in many areas.
the installation of shrimp farms near village lands, prices rise estronomically.
Local farmers can no longer afford to purchase land, while indebted farmers are
tempted to sell their holdings. Much of the coastal land recently converted
into shrimp farms was previously used for food crops and traditional fishing.
United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in colloboration with
the World Wide Fund for Nature International has conducted a study and
published a report dated June
19, 1995 called
"Some Ecological and Social Implications of Commercial Shrimp Farming in Asia".
report is prepared by Solon Barraclong and Andrea Finger - Stich (the UN
Report gives the following picture regarding polluted waters and depleted
fisheries:- "Polluted waters and depleted fisheries: Shrimp farms use both
sea and fresh water to replenish their ponds. This brings them into competition
with other users of these water resources. In areas where commercial shrimp
ponds have been constructed there is frequently insufficient fresh water left
to met customary needs for irrigation, drinking, washing, or other household
and livestock related uses, and water supplies may be contaminated, or both.
salinization has been reported in several places. This often means that people
- most of the time women - have to bring water from more distant wells. In a
village in Tamil Nadu (Nagar-Quaid- e-Millet district, Pompuhar region), for
example, women have to walk two to three kilometres to fetch drinking water
that previously was available nearby before the expansion of shrimp farms on
about 10,000 hectares (Bhagat, 1994). In Andhra Pradesh, a case study conducted
by Vandana Shiva reports that, in the Nellore district, there was no drinking
water available for the 600 fisherfolk of the village of Kurru due to
aquaculture farms salinizing groundwater. She adds that "after protest from
the local women, drinking water was supplied in tankers" (Mukul,
1994).........Local stocks of native fish and crustaceans are being depleted in
many places because of the removal of mangroves which served as nurserybeds,
and also as a result of indiscriminate overfishing of wild shrimp fry (over 90
per cent of randomly caught fry are often wasted [Gujja, 1994]). Natural
fisheries are also frequently damaged by pollution caused by overloads of
nutrients, sediments and chemicals from shrimp farms. In another Indian coastal
village, Ramachandrapuram, fishermen reported that the value of their average
catch of shrimp used to be Rs.50,000 per catamaran per month, but after one
year of operation of nearby aquafarms their catch was ten times smaller (Mukul,
1994). In the Chokoria part of the Sundarbans' of Bangladesh, fishermen report
an 80 per cent drop in fish capture since the destruction of the mangroves and
building of dikes for shrimp farming (Sultna, 1994). Frequently, fisherfolk
protest because their traditional access to the coast has been restricted or
because stocks of wild crustaceans and fish have disappeared.
the reports referred to by us clearly indicate that the expansion of modern
shrimp ponds in the coastal areas has meant that local fishermen could only
reach the beach by trespassing at great risk on shrimp farms or by taking a
long detour. Local people have not only lost access to their fishing grounds
and to their sources of riverine seafoods and seaweeds, but they also have to
relinquish social and recreational activities traditionally taking place on
their beaches. The UN Report gives the following picture regarding natural
resource degradation as a result of shrimp farming:- "In areas densely
covered with intensive shrimp farms, however, the industry is responsible for
considerable self-pollution and particularly for bacteriological and viral
contamination. Each hectare of pond produces tons of undigested feed and fasecal
wastes for every crop cycle. This induces the growth of phytoplankton, protoza,
fungus, bacteria and viruses (like the Vibrio group growing in shrimp faeces
and in large part responsible for the 1988 collapse of Tasiwan's production)
(Lin, 1989). The overuse of fertilizers and of veterinary and sanitary products
such as antibiotics adds to the water pollution problem. It also contributes to
the decreasing resistance of the shrimp stock.
intensive shrimp farms are densely spaced, waste laden water tends to slosh
from one pond to another before it is finally discharged into the sea. Shrimp
producers are extremely concerned about assured supplies of clean water as it
is vital for their immediate economic returns.
amounts of sedimentation in intensive shrimp ponds is posing serious disposal
problems for shrimp farmers. From 100 to 500 tons of sediment per hectare per
year are apparently accumulating.
only some 10 tons of feed is used to produce about 5 tons of shrimp per hectare
per year, this raises questions about where such incredible quantities of sediment
come from (Rosenberry, 1994a;42).
are cleaned after each crop cycle and the sediments are often discarded in
water ways leading into the sea, or they are sometimes used to build dikes.
Their putrefaction inside and outside the ponds causes foul odours, hypernutrification
and eutrophisation, siltation and turbidity of water courses and estuaries,
with detrimental implications on local fauna and flora.
.............Biodiversity losses: The impacts of semi- intensive and intensive
shrimp aquaculture on biodiversity ("the totality of genes, species and
ecosystems in a region") are multiple. This is because of the land area
they cover; the water they pollute; the water circulation systems they alter;
the wild fish and crustacean habitats they replace; the risks they pose of
disease transfer; the impacts of released raised shrimp on the genetic
diversity and resilence of indigenous shrimp and possibly also their negative
impacts on other native fauna and flora.
hazards: Health hazards to local populations living near or working in shrimp
farms have been observed in several places. For instance, in Tamil Nadu (Quaid-e-Milleth
district near Pondicherry) an approximately 1,500 acre large
shrimp farm has been reported to have caused eight deaths from previously
unknown diseases within a period of two months following the installation of
the aquaculture farm (Naganathan et al., 1995:60/). There are numerous hazards
to public health along the shrimp production chain from the farmers through the
various processors to the often distant consumers. The workers employed on
shrimp farms handle several potentially dangerous chemicals, and may be exposed
to unsanitary working conditions." According to the UN Report - intensive
ponds have a maximum life of only 5 to 10 years. Abandoned ponds can no longer
be used for shrimp and there are few known alternative uses for them except
some other types of acquaculture. Apparently they can seldom be economically
rehabilitated for other uses such as crop land. The extent of abandoned areas
by the shrimp industry has been indicated by the UN Report in the following
works:- "After a production cycle of about four of five months, shrimp
ponds under intensive use are cleaned and disinfected and the polluted sludge
is removed and often disposed for unsafely. This treatment, however, does not
usually surfice to maintain the ponds' productivity for more than five to ten yn
years (Ibid., Annex III/12).
then move to other areas because of pollution and disease. This mode of
production has been called "rape and run" (Csavas, 1994b). The
altered milieu of these abandoned ponds inhibits the spontaneous regeneration
of vegetation and their use for agriculture, forestry, other aquaculture or
related fishing activities. These abandoned areas do not appear in worldwide estimastes
of areas used for shrimp farming, which for 1993 were estimated to include
962,600 hectares, of which 847,000 hectares were in Asia. In December 1994 these areas were estimated to have
increased worldwide to 1,147,500 with 1,017,000 hectares in Asia (Rosenberry, 1993 and 1994a).
areas affected by the industry's practices over the last decade are probably at
least one third larger, or even more if the total infrastructures surrounding
the ponds are accounted for." The UN Report pithily sums up the
"conflicts and externalities" as under:- "A major portion of the
conflicts arising from the expansion of shrimp farming are the result of
environmental and social degradation that is not included in the costs of
the industry assumes no responsibility for damages to other groups arising from
its activities, economists call them "externalities". For example,
abandoned ponds are usually virtually unusable for other purposes for
indefinite periods without costly rehabilitation, which is seldom undertaken.
destruction, flooding of crops, salinization or pollution of land and water
associated with the expansion of shrimp farming all affect the local people
depending on these resources" Alagarswami has divided the shrimp-farm
technology into six types. We have already quoted the relevant paragraph 5.1.2
of the report. Although different experts have given different nomenclature to
different types of shrimp farm technologies, we are of the view that the types
indicated by Alagarswami in his report are based on the functioning of the
shrimp culture industry in India and as
such are acceptable. Keeping in view the NEERI report and other material quoted
and discussed by us, we are of the view that the traditional and improved
traditional types of shrimp- farm technologies - defined by Alagarswami - are
environmentally benign and pollution free. Other types of technologies -
extensive, modified extensive, semi intensive and intensive - create pollution
and have degrading affect on the environment and coastal ecology. Such type of
shrimp farms cannot be permitted to operate.
refer to constitutional and Statutory provisions which mandate the State to
protect and improve the environment. Article 48-A of the Constitution of India
states that "the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the
environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country".
Article 51-A of the Constitution imposes as one of the fundamental duties on
every citizen, the duty to protect and improve the natural environment
including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for
living creatures. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (the Act) was enacted
as a result of the decisions taken at the United Nations Conference on the
Human Environment held at Stockhorm in June, 1972 in which India participated.
The Indian delegation was led by the then Prime Minister of India. The
Statement of objects and reason to the Act is as under:- "The decline in
environmental quality has been evidenced by increasing pollution, loss of
vegetal cover and biological diversity, excessive concentrations of harmful
chemicals in the ambient atmosphere and in food chains, growing risks of environmental
accidents and threats to life support systems. The world community's resolve to
protect and enhance the environmental quality.
expression in the decisions taken at the United Nations Conference on the Human
Environment held in Stockholm in June, 1972, Government of India participate
din the Conference and strongly voiced the environmental concerns. While
several measures have been taken for environmental protection both before and
after the Conference, the need for a general legislation further to implement
the decision of the conference has become increasingly evident." Section
2(a), 2(b), 2(c) and 2(e) of the Environment Act are as under:-
Definitions.-In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
"environment" includes water, air and land and the inter-
relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human
beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property;
"environmental pollutant" means any solid, liquid or gaseous
substance present in such concentration as may be, or tend to be, injurious to
"environmental pollution" means the presence in the environment of
any environmental pollutant;
"hazardous substance" means any substance or preparation which, by reason
of its chemical or physico-chemical properties or handling, is liable to cause
harm to human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism, property
or the environment;" Section 7 and 8 of the Environment Act are as under:-
Persons carrying on industry, operation, etc., not to allow emission or
discharge of environmental pollutants in excess of the standards.- No person
carrying on any industry, operation or process shall discharge or emit or
permit to be discharged or emitted any environmental pollutant in excess of
such standards as may be prescribed.
Persons handling hazardous substances to comply with procedural safeguards.- No
person shall handle or cause to be handled any hazardous substance except in
accordance with such procedure and after complying with such safeguards as may
15 of the Act makes contravention of the provisions of the said Act punishable
with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which
may extend to one lakh rupees or with both. If the failure or contravention
continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the
offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
seven years. The effluents discharged by the commercial shrimp culture farms
are covered by the definition of Environmental pollutant, environmental
pollution and hazardous substance.
NEERI reports indicate that the effluents discharged by the farms at various
places were excess of the prescribed standards. Unfortunately, no action is
being taken by the authorities under the Act.
Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 (the rules) have been framed under
the Act. Rule 2(i) of the rules defines "hazardous wastes" to mean
categories of wastes specified in the Schedule appended to the rules.
category No.12 under the Schedule to the rules is as under:- "SCHEDULE
Categories of Hazardous Waste
------------------------------------------------------------ Waste Categories
Types of wastes Regulatory quantities
------------------------------------------------------------ 1 2 3 = = = Waste
category No.12 Sludges arising Irrespective of from treatment of any quality.
waters containing heavy metals, toxic organics, oils, emulsions and spend chemicals
and incrineration ash." Rule 5 of the rules makes it obligatory for every
occupier generating hazardous wastes to obtain authorisation as provided under
the said rule. Rule 5(4) requires the State Pollution Control Board not to
issue and authorisation unless it is satisfied that the operator of a facility
or an occupier, as the case may be, possesses appropriate facilities, technical
capabilities and equipment to handle hazardous waste safely.
Mehta has vehemently contended that the shrimp culture farms are discharging
highly polluting effluent which is "hazardous waste", under the
rules, Mr. Mehta relying upon the NEERI reports and other reports placed on
record has contended that none of the farms have obtained authorisation from
the State Pollution Control Boards.
Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act. 1974 (the Water Act) has
been enacted to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution and
the maintaining or restoring of wholesomeness of water. The Statement of Objects
and Reasons of the Water Act, inter alia, state as under:- "The problem of
pollution of rivers and streams has assumed considerable importance and urgency
in recent years as a result of the growth or industries and the increasing
tendency to urbanization. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the
domestic and industrial effluents are not allowed to be discharged into the
water courses without adequate treatment as such discharges would render the
water unsuitable as source of drinking water as well as for supporting fish
life and for use in irrigation. Pollution of rivers and streams also causes
increasing damage to the country's economy." Section 2 (j) & (k) of
the Water Act are as under:- "2. Definitions.- In this Act, unless the
context otherwise requires,-
"stream" includes- (i) river;
course (whether flowing or for the time being dry);
water (whether natural or artificial);
or tidal waters to such extent or, as the case may be, to such point as the
State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this
"trade effluent" includes any liquid, gaseous or solid substance
which is discharged from any premises used for carrying on any [industry operation
or process, or treatment and disposal system], other than domestic sewage.
25 of the Water Act provides that no person shall, without the previous consent
of the State Board establish any industry, operation or process, of any
treatment and disposal system which is likely in discharge sewage or trade
effluent into a stream on well or sewer or on land. There is nothing on the
record to show that the shrimp culture farm owners are even conscious of the
statutory provisions which require them to obtain the necessary consent/authorisation
from the concerned Pollution Control Boards.
are other legislations like Fisheries Act 1987, Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
and Forest Conservation Act, 1980 which contain useful provisions for
environment protection and pollution control. Unfortunately, the authorities
responsible for the implementation of various statutory provisions are wholly re-miss
in the performance of their duties under the said provisions.
this stage we may deal with a question which has incidentally come up for our
consideration. Under para 2 of the CRZ notification, the activities listed thereunder
are declared as prohibited activities. Various State Governments have enacted
coastal acquaculture legislations regulating the industries set up in the
coastal areas. It was argued before us that certain provisions of the State
legislations including that of the State of Tamil Nadu are not in consonance with the CRZ notification issued by the
Government of India under Section 3(3) of the Act, Assuming that so, we are of
the view that the Act being a Central legislation has the overriding effect.
The Act the Environment Protection Act, 1986) has been enacted under Entry 13
of list 1 Schedule VII of the Constitution of India. The said entry is as under:-
"Participation in international conferences, assessment and other bodies
and implementing of decisions made there at." The preamble to the Act
clearly states that it was enacted to implement the decisions taken at the
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972. The Parliament has
enacted the Act under Entry 13 of List 1 Schedule VII read with Article 253 of
the Constitution of India the CRZ notification having been issued under the Act
shall have overriding effect and shall prevail over the law made by the
legislatures of the States.
Court in Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs. Union of India & Ors. JT 1966 (7) SC 375 has dealt
with the concept of "sustainable development" and has specifically accepted
"The Precautionary Principle" and "The Polluter Pays"
principle as part of the environmental laws of the land. The relevant part of
the judgment is as under;
traditional concept that development and ecology are opposed to each other, is
no longer acceptable. Sustainable Development is the answer. In the
International sphere "Sustainable Development" as a concept came to
be known for the first time in the Stockholm Declaration of 1972. Thereafter,
in 1987 the concept was given a definite shape by the World Commission on
Environment and Development in its report called "Our Common Future".
The Commission was chaired by the then Prime Minister of Norway Ms. G.H. Brundtland and as such the
report is popularly known as "Brundtland Report". In 1991 the World
Conservation Union, United Nations Environment Programme and World Wide Fund
for Nature, jointly came out with a document called "Caring for the
Earth" which is a strategy for sustainable living. Finally, came the Earth
Summit held in June, 1992 at Rio which saw
the largest gathering of world leaders ever in the history - deliberating and
chalking out a blue print for the survival of the planet. Among the tangible
achievements of the Rio Conference was the signing of two conventions, one on
biological diversity and another on climate change. These conventions were
signed by 159 nations. The delegates also approved by consensus three non
binding documents namely, a Statement on Forestry Principles, a declaration of
principles on environmental policy and development initiatives and Agenda 21, a
programme of action into the next century it areas like poverty population and
pollution. During the two decades from Stockholm to Rio "Sustainable Development"
has come to be accepted as a viable concept to eradicate poverty and improve
the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the
Development" as defined by the Brundtland Report means "Development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the
future generations to meet their own needs". We have no hesitation in
holding that "Sustainable Development" as a balancing concept between
ecology and development has been accepted as a part of the Customary International
Law though its salient features have yet to be finalised by the International
of the salient principles or "Sustainable Development", as culled out
from Brundtland Report and other international documents, are
Inter-Generational Equity, Use and Conservation of Natural Resources,
Environmental Protection, the Precautionary Principle, Polluter Pays principle,
Obligation to assist and cooperate, Eradication of Poverty and Financial
Assistance to the developing countries. We are, however, of the view that
"The Precautionary Principle" and "The Polluter Pays"
principle are essential features of "Sustainable Development". The
"Precautionary Principle" - in the context of the municipal law -
Environment measures - by the State Government and the statutory authorities -
must anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation,
(ii) Where there are threats of serious and irreversible damage, lack of
scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to
prevent environmental degradation, (iii) The "Onus of proof" is on
the actor of the developer/industrialist to show that his action is
Polluter Pays" principle has been held to be a sound principle by this
Court in Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. Union of India JT 1996
(2) 190. The Court observed, "We are of the opinion that any principle
evolved in this behalf should be simple, practical and suited to the conditions
obtaining in this country". The Court ruled that "Once the activity
carried on is hazardous or inherently dangerous, the person carrying on such
activity is liable to make good the loss caused to nay other person by his
activity irrespective of the fact whether he took reasonable care while carrying
on his activity. The rule is premised upon the very nature of the activity
carried on". Consequently the polluting industries are "absolutely
liable to compensate for the harm caused by them to villagers in the affected
area, to the soil and to the underground water rand hence, they are bound to
take all necessary measures to remove sludge and other pollutants lying in the
affected areas". The "Polluter Pays" principle as interpreted by
this Court means that the obsolute liability for harm to the environment
extends not only to compensate the victims of pollution but also the cost of
restoring the environmental degradation. Remediation of the damaged environment
is part of the process of "Sustainable Development" and as such
polluter is liable to pay the cost to the individual sefferers as well as the
cost of reversing the damaged ecology.
precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle have been accepted as
part of the law of the land. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees
protection of life and personal liberty. Articles 47, 48A and 51A(g) of the
Constitution are as under:
Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living
and to improve public health. - The State shall regard the raising of the revel
of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of
public health as among its primary duties and in particular, the State that endeavour
to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of
intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild
life. - The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to
safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.
To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers
and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures." Apart from
the constructional mandate to protect and improve the environment there are
plenty of post independence legislations on the subject but more relevant
enactments for our purpose are :
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (the Water Act), The Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (the Air Act) and the Environment
Protection Act, 1986 (The Environment Act). The Water Act provides for the
constitution f the Central Pollution Control Board by the Central Government
and the constitution of the State Pollution Control Boards by various State
Governments in the country. The Boards function under the control of the
Governments concerned. The Water Act prohibits the use of streams and wells for
disposal of polluting matters. Also provides for restrictions on outlets and
discharge of effluents without obtaining consent from the Board, Prosecution
and penalties have been provided which include sentence of imprisonment. The
Air Act provides that the Central Pollution Control Board and the State
Pollution Control Boards constituted under the Water Act shall also perform the
powers and functions under the Air Act. The main function of the Boards, under
the Air Act, is to improve the quality of the air and to prevent, control and
abate air pollution in the country. We shall deal with the Environment Act in
the later part of this judgment.
view of the above mentioned constitutional and statutory provisions we have no
hesitation in holding that the precautionary principle and the polluter pays
principle are part of the environment law of the country.
of the view that before any shrimp industry or shrimp pond is permitted to be
installed in the ecology fragile coastal area it must pass through a strict
environmental test. There has to be a high powered "Authority" under
the Act to scrutinise each and every case from the environmental point of view.
There must be an environmental impact assessment before permission is granted
to instal commercial shrimp farms. The conceptual framework of the assessment
must be broad-based primarily concerning environmental linked with shrimp
farming. The assessment must also include the social impact on different
population strata in the area. The quality of the assessment must be
analytically based on superior technology. It must take into consideration the
inter-generational equity and the compensation for those who are affected and
parting with this judgment, we may notice the "Dollar" based argument
advanced before us. It was contended before us by the learned counsel appearing
for the shrimp acquaculture industry that the industry has achieved singular
distinction by earning maximum foreign exchange in the country. Almost 100 per
cent of the produce is exported to America, Europe and Japan and as such the industry has a large potential to earn
"Dollars". That may be so, but the farm-raised production of shrimp
is much lesser than the wild-caught production. The UN Report shows the world
production of shrimp from 1982 to 1983 as under:- Table 1: World Production of
Shrimp ------------------------------------------------------------ Thousands
of matric tons ------------------------------------------------------------
Year Farm-raised Wild-caught Total
------------------------------------------------------------ 1982 84 1,652
1,756 1983 143 1,683 1,626 1984 174 1,733 1,907 1985 213 1,906 2,121 1986 309
1,909 1,218 1987 551 1,909 2,264 1988 604 1,914 2,518 1989 611 1,832 2,518 1990
633 1,968 2,443 1991 690 1,968 2,601 1992 721 2,118 2,912 1993 610 2,100
2,710" ------------------------------------------------------------ It is
obvious from the figures quoted above that term- raised production of shrimp is
of very small quantity as compared to wild-caught Even if some of the shrimp
culture farms which are polluting the environment, are closed, the production
of shrimp by environmentally friendly techniques would not be affected and
there may not be any loss to the economy specially in view of the finding given
by NEERI that the damage caused to ecology and economics by the acquaculture
farming is higher than the earnings from the sale of coastal acquaculture
produce. That may be the reason for the European and American countries for not
permitting their sea-coasts to be exploited for shrimp-culture farming.
report shows that 80% of the farm - cultured - shrimp comes from the developing
countries of Asia.
therefore, order and directed as under:
Central Government shall constitute an authority under Section 3(3) of the
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and shall confer on the said authority all
the powers necessary to protect the ecologically fragile coastal areas, sea
shore, water front and other coastal areas and specially to deal with the
situation created by the shrimp culture industry in the coastal States/Union
Territories. The authority shall be headed by Judge of a High Court.
members preferably with expertise in the field of acquaculture, pollution
control and environment protection shall be appointed by the Central
Government. The Central Government shall confer on the said authority the powers
to issue directions under section 5 of the Act and for taking measures with
respect to the matters referred to in clauses (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), (ix),
(x) and (xii) of sub-section (2) of Section 3. The Central Government shall
constitute the authority before January 15, 1997.
authority so constituted by the Central Government shall implement "the
Precautionary Principle" and "the Polluter Pays" principles.
shrimp culture industry/the shrimp ponds are covered by the prohibition contained
in para 2(1) of the CRZ Notification. No shrimp culture pond can be constructed
or set up within the coastal regulation zone as defined in the CRZ
notification. This shall be applicable to all seas, bays, estuaries, creeks,
rivers and backwaters. This direction shall not apply to traditional and
improved traditional types of technologies far defined in Alagarswami report
which are practised in the coastal low lying areas.
acquaculture industries/shrimp culture industries/shrimp culture ponds operating/set
up in the coastal regulation zone as defined under the CRZ Notification shall
be demolished and removed from the said area before March 31, 1997. We direct the Superintendent of Police/Deputy Commissioner
of Police and the District Magistrate/Collector of the area to enforce this
direction and close/demolish all acquaculture industries/shrimp culture
industries, shrimp culture ponds on or before March 31, A compliance report in
this respect shall be in this Court by these authorities before April 15, 1997.
farmers who are operating traditional and improved traditional systems of acquaculture
may adopt improved technology for increased production productivity and return
with prior approval of the "authority" constituted by this order.
agricultural lands, salt pan lands, mangroves, wet lands, forest lands, land
for village common purpose and the land meant for public purposes shall not be used/converted
for construction of shrimp culture ponds.
7. No acquaculture
industry/shrimp culture industry/shrimp culture ponds shall be constructed/set
up within 1000 meter of Chilka lake and Pulicat lake (including Bird
Sanctuaries namely Yadurapattu and Nelapattu)
industry/shrimp culture industry/shrimp culture ponds already operating and
functioning in the said area of 1000 meter shall be closed and demolished
before March 31, 1997. We direct the Superintendent of
Police/Deputy Commissioner of Police and the District Magistrate/Collector of
the area to enforce this direction and close/demolish and acquaculture
industries/shrimp culture industries, shrimp culture ponds on or before March 31, 1997. A compliance report in this
respect shall be filled in this Court by these authorities before April 15, 1997.
industry/shrimp culture industry/shrimp culture ponds other than traditional
and improved traditional may be set up/constructed outside the coastal
regulation zone as defined by the CRZ notification and outside 1000 meter of Chilka
and Pulicat lakes with the prior approval of the "authority" as
constituted by this Court. Such industries which are already operating in the
said areas shall authorisation from the "Authority" before April 30, 1997 failing which the industry
concerned shall stop functioning with effect from eh said date. We further
direct that any acquaculture activity including intensive and semi-intensive
which has the effect of causing salinity of soil, of the drinking water or
wells and/or by the use of chemical feeds increases shrimp or prawn production
with consequent increase in sedimentation which, on putrefaction is a potential
health hazard, apart from causing silication turbidity of water courses and
estuaries with detrimental implication on local fauna and flora shall not be
allowed by the aforesaid Authority.
industry/shrimp culture industry/shrimp culture ponds which have been functioning/operating
within the coastal regulation zone as defined by the CRZ Notification and
within 1000 meter from Chilka and Puliket Lakes shall be liable to compensate the
affected persons on the basis of the "polluter pays" principle.
The authority shall, with the help of expert opinion and after giving
opportunity to the concerned polluters assess the loss to the ecology/ the
affected areas and shall a individuals/families who have suffered because of
the pollution and shall assess the compensation to be pain to the said
individuals/families. The authority shall further determine the compensation to
be recovered from the polluters as cost of reversing the damaged environment.
The authority shall lay down just and fair procedure for completing the
The authority shall compute the compensation under two heads hardly, for
reversing the ecology and for payment to individuals. A statement showing
amount to be recovered, the names of the whom the amount is to be recovered, the
recovered from each polluter, the persons to whom the compensation is to be
paid and the amount payable to each of them shall be forwarded to the
Collector/District Magistrate of the area concerned. The Collector/District
Magistrate shall recover the amount from the polluters, if necessary, as
arrears of land revenue. He shall disburse the compensation awarded by the
authority to the affected persons/families.
further direct that any violation or non-compliance of the directions of this
Court shall attract the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act in addition.
The compensation amount recovered from the polluters shall be deposited under a
separate head called "Environment Protection Fund" and shall be utilised
for compensating the affected persons as identified by the authority and also
for restoring the damaged environment.
The authority, in consultation with expert bodies like NEERI, Central Pollution
Control Board, respective State Pollution Control Boards shall frame
scheme/schemes for reversing the damage cause to the ecology and environment by
pollutions of the coastal States/Union Territories. The scheme/schemes so
framed shall be executed by the respective State Governments/Union Territory
Governments under the supervision of the Central Government. The expenditure
shall be met from the Environment Protection from other sources provided by the
respective State Governments/Union Territory Governments and the Central
The workmen employed in the shrimp culture industries which are to be closed in
terms of this order, shall be deemed to have been retrenched with effect from
April 30, 1997 provided they have been in continuous service (as defined in
Section 258 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) For not less than one year in
the industry concerned before the said date. They shall be paid compensation in
terms of Section of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. These workmen shall also
be paid, in addition, six year's wages as additional compensation. The
compensation shall be paid to the workmen before May 31, 1997. The gratuity amount payable to the women shall be paid in
writ petition is allowed with costs. We quantify the costs as Rs. 1,40,000/-(Rupees
one lac forty thousand) to be paid by the States of Gujarat. Maharashtra, Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra
Pradesh and West Bengal in equal shares of Rs. 20,000/-
each. The amount of Rs. 1,40,000/- realised from the seven coastal States shall
be paid to Mr. MC Mehta, Advocate who has assisted in this case throughout. We
place on record our appreciation for the assistance rendered by Mr. Mehta.