INDIA - With a view to make India a major player in world fisheries sector, we will have to exploit our 8,118 kilometer coastal line, Indian agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh said recently.
Speaking on the occasion of World Fisheries Day in New Delhi, Mr Singh said that India ranks world number two in fish production and also the second highest aquaculture country in the world. With a coastal line of 8,118 kilometers can rise to be a major player in the world fisheries.
India has a vast area of unutilized and untapped Inland water resources and is short of for quality fish seed and formulated fish feed and government will focus on filling the critical gaps, Mr Singh stressed.
Even though the per capita income consumption in the world for fish is 18 kilograms per annum, Indi’s per capita income consumption of fish currently stands at 8 kilograms per annum, against the global average of 18 kilograms per annum, the minister said.
Mr Singh revealed that India currently produces 9.58 million metric tonnes of fish out of which 64 per cent of production is inland and 36 per cent is from marine sources.
The minister also informed that the fisheries can be an engine of growth due to high growth rates of 7.9 per cent in inland fisheries last year.
In India, fisheries is recognized as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary sectors. Fisheries in both inland and marine waters have been contributing as an important source of livelihood and supplies nutritious protein for the growing population, Mr Singh stressed.
Mr Singh said in fact, with exponential increase in human populations, the food demand, shrinkage of cultivable land and decline in the agricultural productivity, role of fisheries sector to fulfill the growing demand for food is of paramount importance for nutritional security.
From a mere traditional activity years ago, the fisheries sector has transformed into a significant commercial enterprise with an impressive growth in recent times, Mr Singh opined.
As per the latest Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) statistics released in 2014 (The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014), the global fish production has reached to 158 million tonnes, with food fish supply increasing at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent, outpacing world population growth at 1.6 per cent.