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Call for New National Aquaculture Policy

INDIA - The aquaculture sector needs a focussed national policy covering the entire spectrum of coastal aquaculture and mariculture for streamlined growth, according to Dr E.G. Silas, Founder and former Director of the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA).

HinduBusinessLine reports that aquaculture has seen a change in development over the last two and a half decades with output exceeding that of capture fisheries. However, the policies governing it are yet to match the needs of the time. Separate policies are needed for fisheries and aquaculture for sustained development of the coastal economy. Such a policy can cover the gamut of traditional and riparian rights of those in the coastal areas, ensure environmental safeguards and sustainable development.

A model fisheries and aquaculture Bill had been formulated but the final outcome is yet to be seen, he said.

Also, CIBA comes under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, but fisheries and aquaculture are different from the land-based agriculture and animal husbandry. The work of CIBA, a research and policy driving institute, should not be restricted to a narrow range of aquaculture species but its scope should be widened. It should be redesignated as a Central Institute of Coastal Aquaculture, said Dr Silas, addressing the inaugural of a seminar on new vistas in Indian aquaculture coinciding with the silver jubilee of CIBA and the inaugural of the Aquatic Health Testing Facility.

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, supporting the call for a aquaculture policy and redesignating CIBA as a coastal aquaculture institution, said fisheries and aquaculture gain greater significance in the context of the proposed National Food Security law. The Right to Food law provides for quality and quantity of nutrition and seafood are an important protein source. An integrated aquaculture development service is needed to address seed, feed, health and processing of aquaculture output.

Lucy Towers

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