Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh today said that marine fisheries is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world with a great potential to meet the food, especially protein requirement of a large number of population.
“A new national policy on marine fisheries would soon be in place and it will ensure all-round development of Fisheries sector in the country. With an annual growth rate of above 7 per cent, India is the second largest producer of fish from aquaculture in the world,” he said while addressing the consultative committee of the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare in Varanasi today.
“The Government is in the process of revising national policy on marine fisheries. A committee under the chairmanship of DG, ICAR is seeking the inputs from stakeholders, he added.
Underling the importance of fresh water aquaculture, the Minister said that the species diversification in the recent years has led to development of technology of breeding and hatchery management of several important species for fresh water aquaculture.
Establishment of ‘Brood bank’ for commercially important species at Bhubaneswar by the NFDB is expected to ensure production and supply of certified broods to hatcheries in the country. The cage culture in reservoirs has picked up very well in recent years. The feasibility of inland saline aquaculture in the States of Haryana, Punjab and Utter Pradesh has opened up scope for bringing the land unfit for agricultural activity under economic use. In order to augment production of freshwater aquaculture, Guidelines have been issued for regulating introduction and culture of Tilapia as well as Pangasius species and also for Shrimp species L. vannamei.
Singh apprised the members of the committee of development in Fisheries sector. He said that the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) has standardized pen and cage farming for some species which offer vast potential for inland aquaculture in the country i.e. Pangasius and Indian Major Carp. The production potential from sustainable cage culture is about 50 kg / m3 and from pens is about 3500-5400 kg / ha /6 months with huge potential for up-scaling. It is expected that large scale adoption of the technologies of breeding and seed production by the farmers across the country shall lead to sustainable freshwater aquaculture leading towards ‘Blue Revolution’ in the country.
The Minister said that Brackish water aquaculture is another potential area of fish production. India has 1.2 million ha of brackish water area spread over 10 maritime States / UTs. The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) is regulating the activities in saline and brackish water systems within 2.0 kms from the High Tide Line for sustainable development of coastal aquaculture sector. Introduction of commercial farming of exotic shrimp L. vannamei through CAA by adopting strict regulations and bio-security requirements has witnessed a spectacular growth in the sector.
Stressing the need of development of fresh water, the Minister said that India has 5.4 million ha of inland water bodies, 1.2 million ha for brackish water fish culture and 8.5 million ha for sea farming and a rich biodiversity to harness aquaculture farming in fresh, brackish water and marine water bodies. Considering the vast potential aquaculture needs to be developed further in a sustainable manner for economic prosperity, to generate employment and for food and nutritional security, especially protein malnutrition, by introducing new technologies for responsible and sustainable utilization of resources in an eco friendly manner, he added.