Aquaculture for all

Seafood Industry Urges Government to Free Fresh, Brackish Water for Aquaculture

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INDIA - The seafood industry has urged the government to free its fresh and brackish waters for aquaculture activities if it is to achieve a Blue Revolution.

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There is potential wealth stored in the 4.5 million hectare fresh water resources in the country. Also, India has an estimated 11 lakh hectares available for brackish water shrimp cultivation, of which only 8.5 per cent or 1 lakh hectares has been brought under cultivation, offering enormous production potential, Kamlesh Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, WestCoast Group, a fully integrated aquaculture and seafood company said.

If the right measures are adopted, India, with its huge resources, has the potential to be the top player in seafood production, he said.

Indian fisheries and aquaculture contributes to more than 6 per cent of the global fish production, more than 1 per cent of the GDP, more than 5 per cent of the agriculture GDP and provides employment to 14 million people, the HinduBusinessLine reported.

There are many private players in the country interested in aquaculture and fisheries. However, the capital intensiveness of aspects such as maintenance of aqua farms, seafood processing and maintaining a cold chain has deterred many from investing in these sectors. The government needs to announce tax holidays in aquaculture, he said.

“We also need tax exemptions in areas such as seafood processing and cold chain promotion. Incentives will help bring ing down the cost of operations and make seafood more affordable,” he added.

Fisheries and aquaculture should get the same benefits as that of agriculture. However, this is not happening despite the fact that the sector comes under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture. Ideally, there has to be a separate Ministry of Fisheries, he said.