Surinder Sud: The blue revolution strategy

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
11 September 2007, at 1:00am

INDIA - How the National Fisheries Development Board plans to make India's fisheries a success.

The fisheries-based blue revolution can become real and sustainable if the production potential of available water resources can be efficiently managed. But there are several areas of concern that need to be addressed to realise this goal.

The marine fish production, which at one stage constituted the bulk of the total fish output, is showing practically no growth for nearly a decade. Much of the growth in the fisheries sector is coming chiefly from the inland fisheries, which is also beset with some formidable problems, including the environmental degradation of inland waters and the paucity of fish seed.

Indeed, at present, hardly 40 per cent of the country’s fresh water resources are being used for fisheries. The output of the inland fisheries sector could, therefore, be stepped up by two-and-half times just by utilising all the available water bodies.

Similarly, most of the fisheries potential of deep sea waters is going abegging for want of suitable fishing vessels and curbs on joint ventures for deep sea fishing. The fish stocks of these waters are being either clandestinely harvested by ships belonging to countries or are remaining unexploited.

On the other hand, the coastal waters, predominantly drawn upon by the traditional fishing communities, are being over-exploited, leading to the fast depletion of fisheries resources of this zone. This is also reflected in gradual shrinking of fish catches in the coastal waters.

Even shrimps-based aquaculture, which has till recently been witnessing a fast, largely exports-driven, growth, has now begun flagging due to the imposition of various kinds of non-tariff trade barriers by the importing countries. Besides, the vulnerability of shrimps to diseases is causing problems for the shrimp industry.

Equally worrisome is the poor post-harvest handling of fish, which is resulting in huge wastage of this nutritious food. While these losses are reckoned at a huge 25 per cent in the marine sector, these are around 8 per cent in inland fisheries. The total value of the losses is assessed at a colossal Rs 1,000 crore annually.

Source: Business Standard