India emerges world's second-largest fish producer

Total fish production in the country, which includes both captured and cultured, stood at 11.41 million tonnes in 2016-17, making India the second-largest fish producer in the world, although far behind China, which produces 58.8 million tonnes annually.

Overall fish production in the country also recorded an increase of about 18.86 per cent compared to the last three years, with inland fish production posting a growth of more than 26 per cent, minister for agriculture and farmers' welfare Radha Mohan Singh said on Tuesday.

Addressing a function on World Fisheries Day, Singh said the government has stopped the `Letter of Permit' (LOP) system in the country's Exclusive Economic En since January this year to end exploitation of the country's marine wealth.

'Fisheries Day' is celebrated worldwide on 21 November every year.

Besides, specific decisions have been taken to safeguard the interests of traditional fishermen in the area of EEZ beyond 12 nautical miles, which is regulated by the government of India.

Accordingly, traditional fishers have been exempted from the fishing ban implemented during monsoon period in the EEZ while, quite recently, the use of LED lights / other artificial lights for fishing as well as practice of bull-trailing or pair-trailing have been completely banned, the minister pointed out.

The duration of fishing ban has also been increased from 47 days to 61 days, with the consent of all coastal state governments.

Singh said the initiative for the 'Blue Revolution' launched with an outlay of Rs300 crore for the integrated development of the fisheries sector in the country, has helped increase inland fish production.

Singh further said that about 15 million people in the country are employed in the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

Singh said the vast aquatic resources present in the country provide more opportunities and potential for further development in fisheries sector, adding that the main aim of Blue Revolution is to increase fish production and productivity with around 8 per cent annual growth rate and production of 15 million tonnes of fish by 2020.

This scheme will contribute significantly to achieving the targets of doubling the income of farmers and fishermen by 2022.

Minister of state for agriculture and farmers welfare Krishna Raj said India has a fleet of 2.48 lakh fishing vessels, and the country has exported fish products amounting to $5.78 billion (Rs37,871 crore) during 2016-17, which is the highest export from the country so far.

Globally, the value of export of annual fish products ranges from 85 to 90 billion dollars, she said. The average annual growth rate of fish and fish products in the last decade stood at 7.5 per cent globally, India retained the first place with an average annual growth rate of 14.8 per cent, she added.