Recognizing the potential and scope of ornamental fisheries, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has envisaged a program to unlock the country’s ornamental fisheries sector through a special drive by launching a pilot scheme for the development of ornamental fisheries with a total outlay of Rs. 61.89 crore.
A senior official of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) said that implementation of the pilot-scale Ornamental Fisheries Project focuses mainly on creating an enabling environment for a sustainable and holistic development of Ornamental Fisheries for the socio-economic development of the people involved in this activity as well as for exports.
The thrust areas have been identified for enhancing ornamental fisheries production through cluster-based farming and conservation of natural resources, both inland and marine, through habitat restoration and creating awareness amongst the stakeholders.
The major objectives of the pilot project are: (i) to promote ornamental fish culture with cluster-based approach, (ii) to augment ornamental fisheries trade and export earnings, (iii) to create employment opportunities for the rural & periurban population and (iv) use of modern technology and innovation to make ornamental fisheries a thriving activity.
For the purpose of implementation of the pilot project, a total of 8 potential States have been identified, viz., Assam, West Bengal , Odisha, Maharashtra , Gujarat , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu and Kerala. All the activities under the pilot project are classified in to four major groups, viz., (a) activities related to production of ornamental fish, e.g. setting up of backyard rearing units, medium scale units, integrated breeding-cum-rearing units, etc., (b) activities related to aquarium fabrication, trade and marketing; (c) activities for promotion of ornamental fisheries sector, and d: activities related to skill development and capacity building.
The pilot project on ornamental fisheries shall be implemented by the NFDB through the Fisheries Departments of States/UTs. The broad funding patterns proposed under the pilot project on ornamental fisheries are in line with the funding patterns under Central Scheme Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries.
The implementation of proposed pilot project on ornamental fisheries will require a minimum time frame of one year. Ornamental fishery, on the other hand, is a sub-sector of the fisheries sector dealing with breeding and rearing of coloured fish of both freshwater and marine water. Though ornamental fisheries does not directly contribute to the food and nutritional security, it generates livelihood and income for the rural and periurban population, especially women and unemployed youth as part-time activities.
The ornamental fish industry in India is small but vibrant, with potential for tremendous growth. The low production cost and high returns within a short span of time and the ever growing demand, both in domestic and international markets, etc. are the major attractions. About 400 species of marine ornamental fishes and 375 freshwater ornamental varieties are available in various parts of our country.