Fisheries business in India grew by 27% in last 4 years, claims govt

The budget provision of Rs 7,522.48 crore for establishing Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund has potential to benefit 40 lakh fishermen, especially women, self-help groups, weaker sections

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New Delhi: During the last decade, India has attained the first position with around 14 percent average annual growth in the export of fish & fishery products. Fish production in India has also grown by 27 percent in 2014-18 as compared to 2010-14. This was stated by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Mr Radha Mohan Singh while addressing the Fisheries Ministers of Coastal states and Union Territories. Mr Singh further added that owing to low prospects of fisheries production along the coast, the government has decided to promote deep sea fishing and has introduced a sub-component ‘Assistance for Deep Sea Fishing’ under the Blue Revolution.

Mr Singh further said that under this scheme, self-help groups of traditional fishermen are being given 50 percent of the vessel cost i.e. the central assistance of Rs 40 lakh for vessel costing up to Rs 80 lakh. Advanced and modern deep sea fishing vessels will be built in the country by indigenous technology. He informed that in the first year, central funds amounting to more than Rs 300 crore have been released for the implementation of this scheme benefitting fishermen from states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Minister also stated that the Government has made a budget provision of Rs 7,522.48 crore for the establishment of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) which has the potential to benefit 40 lakh marine and inland fishermen, especially women, self-help groups, weaker sections by making available modern infrastructure facilities and increased value of the produce. He said like farmers, fishermen will also get the benefit of ‘Kisan Credit Card’.

Mr Singh expressed happiness that the new “National Policy on Marine Fisheries” was notified by the Ministry of Agriculture on May 1, 2017 after detailed discussions with stakeholders. This, he said, will promote the integrated development of marine fisheries in the country for the next 10 years. For an effective implementation of the policy, the Centre and the coastal states will have to work together.

The Union Agriculture Minister said according to estimates by scientists, existing marine fisheries’ resources are over-exploited up to 200 meters depth from the mainland, thereby posing serious threat to the livelihood of traditional fishermen. The area of 200 meters depth lies within 12 nautical miles and is a subject matter of state governments. Therefore, under the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, a sustainable and responsible fishing must be ensured by the states. He appealed to the state governments to take all necessary steps to ensure sustainable fishing.