Visakhapatnam: Sea and river food lovers might have to shell extra money from July 1, thanks to Goods and Service Tax. As of now, there was no tax on ropes and nets that are used in fishing. However, with the government deciding to levy 12 per cent GST on these goods, fish prices are expected to take a hit. Fishermen are already saying that the new tax is going to increase their investment in fishing, which will further impact fish prices.
The GST council has washed away the hopes of fishermen in Andhra Pradesh by not responding to their pleas to exempt them from GST.
With the GST, the fishermen will have to cough up tax on ropes, nets and wire ropes, which are used in fishing in the deep sea and also in rivers.
The GST council has decided to levy from zero to 12 per cent tax on ropes and nets. On mono-filament rope used by tuna long-liners, it will be up from 7 to 18 per cent, and the wire ropes used to anchoring the mechanised boats and other boats, it will be around 18 per cent from the existing 5 per cent, said P.C. Appa Rao, president of the AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association.
The GST will increase the input cost of fishing and we have to impose the burden on seafood lovers only by increasing the prices, he added.
“We are caught between the devil and the deep sea — poor catch and high diesel price on one side, and the proposed GST on ropes and nets on the other. The price of net using for catching fish is around Rs 50,000 and the price of net for prawns is about Rs 25,000. The validity of the nets and ropes purely depends on the weather conditions and few other factors. The GST will further increase our investment for fishing and finally the price of sea food will be dearer,” said president of Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association Ch Satyanarayana Murthy.
Sources said there will be no tax for goods like fresh meat, fish, chicken and eggs, but 5 per cent tax on the items such as fish fillet and few others. Now there are some reports that over 12 per cent tax will be levied on the dry fish and processed seafood also.