In order to optimise the growth potential for the sector and and considering the need for effective implementation of different schemes, the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India has proposed to formulate an umbrella scheme ‘Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries.’
With an outlay of Rs 3,000 crore, the scheme will cover inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mari-culture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realising ‘Blue Revolution’.
Speaking on the issue, Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh said, “Focused approach of this nature will lead to ushering in Blue Revolution through an integrated development and management of fisheries and aquaculture sector and would ensure sustained acceleration and intensification of fish production beyond the projected annual growth rate.”
The minister further said, “Fisheries supports livelihood of almost 1.5 million peoples in our country. India is one of the leading producers of fish in the world, occupying the second position globally in terms of production.The contribution of Indian fish to the food basket of the world has been substantial.”
After Independence, fish production has been increased from 7.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to 100.70 lakh tonnes during 2014-15, while the export earnings of 33,441 crore in 2014-15 (US$ 5.51 billion), equalled about 18 percent of the export earnings from the agriculture sector. “Our overall fish production has crossed 10 million tonnes with a growth rate of over 5 percent and today we are ahead of all countries except China,” the Minister added.
With a production of 42.10 lakh tonnes, India is the second largest producer of fish from aquaculture which contributes about 6.3 percent to global aquaculture production. Keeping the recent developments and trends in fish production in view, and the previous Plan periods, it is expected that a growth rate of about 8 percent can be achieved in the inland sector. The future demand for fish and fishery products has to be mostly sourced from aquaculture and culture based capture fisheries in reservoirs.
India has over 8,000 Km of coastal line and nearly 2 million Sq Km of EEZ and half a million sq km of Continental Shelf. From these marine resources, India has an estimated fisheries potential of 4.11 million tonnes. Similarly, 3 million hectares of reservoirs, 2.5 million hectares of ponds and tanks, 1.25 million hectares of brackish water area, cold water resources of hilly states and all other inland fishery resources offer a production potential of about 15 million tonnes. Against this potential, the production from inland sector was 6.58 million tonnes during 2014-15. In this context, optimum utilisation of resources becomes pivotal to achieve the targeted production.
While the required financial support is being provided to the farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs connected with the fisheries sector through various ongoing programmes namely, Centrally Sponsored Schemes, National Fisheries Development Board and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. However, enhancement of productivity and production are the key challenges in achieving the targeted production.
“I believe that various institutes under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as well as other research organisations in India have been able to develop new technologies which have the potential for enhancing productivity and production of various aquaculture and fishery resources. To make this happen, technology has to be brought to the doorstep of the user community,” the minister added.