The fisheries sector is a sunrise sector with varied resources and potential, engaging over 14.5 million people at the primary level and many more along the value chain. The interim budget has announced a significant decision of launching a separate department of fisheries in the Union government.
Fisheries in India –
- 2nd largest producer in the world
- Single largest agriculture export, with a growth rate of 6-10%
- Accounts of almost 1% of the GDP
Objectives of the Blue revolution –
- Sustainable capturing
- Expanding the horizon of fish farming by enhancing productivity, species diversification, etc.
How a separate department will help in observing objectives of the blue revolution: –
- Will enable the quick and targeted decision
- Ensure coordination of measures such as conversation, regulation and protection of the fishermen’s interest.
- Help in bringing in much-required funding
- Will further boost the export by enabling species diversification.
- Enhance R&D in the fisheries sector.
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- Environmental issues (e.g. – water pollution)
- Unsustainable production (e.g. – 90% of global marine stock fully exploited or overfished or depleted)
- Lack of awareness, specialized manpower, weak marketing network, etc.
- Low product – productivity in terms of per fisher, per farm and boat.
Way forward –
- The sustainable harnessing of marine resources
- Implementation of features of National policy on marine fisheries (e.g. deep-sea vessels)
- Innovative practices such as re-circulatory aquaculture should be adopted.
- More awareness among fishing community, development of infrastructure, focus on increasing quality seed production, etc.
A concentrated effort by an independent department is crucial to achieving the objective of doubling farmers income. However, there is a need for policies addressing the issues of sustainability to achieve the objective of the blue revolution. The policies by the new department must focus on enhancing production, better returns and increased income in a sustainable way.