INDIA - India’s apex industry body, the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) has said that the government’s renewed focus on the fisheries sector through the Blue Revolution will further revitalise the industry.
Drawing from the past success of the green revolution, the envisaged Blue Revolution has the potential to usher in rapid transformation in the sector, which will enhance productivity, improve breeding and feeding practices as well as improve human resource training.
This focus on aquaculture is also timely, as the country is currently struggling with inflation of protein-rich food items, Assocham adds.
India is the second largest player in the global fisheries sector; producing around nine million tonnes of fishery based resources annually.
Assocham also recommends the following measures to be part of the Blue Revolution for sustainable development of the sector that includes immediate impetus to address infrastructure bottlenecks such as upgrading and planning fishing harbors, integrated export-oriented processing clusters and country wide domestic fish marketing infrastructure; updating food safety protocols to meet global quality specifications, thereby mitigating export rejections and ensuring regular trade and livelihood for fishermen.
The body also recommended skill development and training activities to be undertaken for ornamental fish culture, deep sea fishing and marine aquaculture activities, in an effort to create additional employment opportunities and overhauling the processing industry to export value added products, thereby increasing per-unit export value.
With a fleet of 200,000 fishing vessels, exports from the fisheries sector reached an all-time high of $5 billion in 2013-14.
The sector contributes close to one per cent of India’s GDP and around 4.6 per cent to the agricultural GDP and also employs nearly 14 million people.
Assocham also said that the introduction of the new exotic shrimp variety, L. vannamei, has brought new dynamism to the fish processing industry.
Frozen shrimp contributes to more than 64 per cent of total Indian marine export earnings.
More domestically-cultured species need to be introduced at regular intervals by the scientific community to benefit farmers and provide momentum to the aquaculture sector in India.