Union Agriculture and Farmers welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh today here inaugurate the “World fisheries Day-2015”. Shri Singh on the occasion said that “considering the importance and growth potential of the sector, and considering the need for effective implementation of different schemes, the Ministry by merging all the existing schemes, has proposed to formulate an umbrella scheme ‘Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries’ with an outlay of Rs. 3000 crore. This umbrella scheme will cover inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mari-culture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) towards realizing “Blue Revolution”.
Minister further said that a “focused approach of this nature shall lead to ushering in Blue Revolution through an integrated development and management of fisheries and aquaculture sector and would ensure sustained acceleration and intensification of fish production beyond the projected annual growth rate.” Union Minister on the occasion felicitates some of the fishers/fish farmers who have come from different states of the country and released a souvenir. Minister of State Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Shri Ashok Kumar Angurana and secretary DARE, Dr. S. Ayyappan was also present on the occasion.
Full text of the speech:
“Fisheries are an important sector. Fisheries supports livelihood of almost 1.5 million peoples in our country. India is one of the leading producers of fish in the world, occupying the second position globally in terms of production.The contribution of Indian fish to the food basket of the world has been substantial. In this context, reflecting the priorities of our government towards the development of fisheries sector, during the last year on 21stNovember, 2014 we celebrated the World Fisheries Day for the first time in the country. And I am happy that today again, we all are here to celebrate theWorld Fisheries Day. After Independence, fish production has been increased from 7.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to 100.70 lakh tonnes during 2014-15, while the export earnings of 33,441 crore in 2014-15 (US$ 5.51 billion), equalled about 18% of the export earnings from the agriculture sector. Our overall fish production has crossed 10 million tons with a growth rate of over 5 % and today we are ahead of all countries except China. The export earnings of Rs. 33,441 crore in 2014-15 (US$ 5.51 billion), equaled about 18% of the export earnings from the agriculture sector.
Coming to Aquaculture, India is the second largest producer (42. 10 lakh tonnes) of fish from aquaculture which contributes about 6.3 per cent to global aquaculture production. Keeping the recent developments and trends in fish production in view, and the previous Plan periods, it is expected that a growth rate of about 8.0 per cent can be achieved in the inland sector. The future demand for fish and fishery products has to be mostly sourced from aquaculture and culture based capture fisheries in reservoirs. During the last two years, through National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen, assistance has been provided for construction of 5583 fishermen-houses, training to 7720 fishermen, insurance assistance to 48 million fishermen, and assistance is provided to 7.34 million fishermen under the savings-cum-relief scheme during the fishing ban period. In these two years, approximately 4,000 traditional fishing boats have been modernized, and 7363 sea safety kits have been distributed. Nation Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)has provided assistance of Rs. 5751.18 lakh for construction of 10 wholesale markets,24 retail fish-markets,and has financed for 16,719 mobile fish-vending vehicles. NFDB has provided assistance of Rs. 1832.55 lakh to 18 statesfor seed-stocking,cage and pen-culture.NFDB has also provided assistance of Rs. 1211 lakh for ornamental fisheries and for construction of 458 backyard hatcheries etc. Apart from this, the Government has planned for providing assistance of Rs. 530 crore for construction of new hatcheries, ponds, cages etc. under NMPS and RKVY.
India has over 8000 Km. of coastal line and nearly 2 million Sq Km of EEZ and half a million Sq Km. of Continental Shelf. From these marine resources, India has an estimated fisheries potential of 4.11 million tons. Similarly, 3.0 million hectares of reservoirs, 2.5 million hectares of ponds and tanks, 1.25 million hectares of brackish water area, cold water resources of hilly states and all other inland fishery resources offer a production potential of about 15 million tons. Against this potential, the production from inland sector was 6.58 million tonnes during 2014-15. In this context, optimum utilization of resources becomes pivotal to achieve the targeted production. So far, our country could not utilize the existing aquatic resources; however, the annual growth rate of above 5% in fisheries is indicative of the immense potential of the sector in the coming years. It is against this backdrop that we want to harness all possibilities for intensive and integrated development of fishery sector.Providing nutritious food and gainful employment are the foremost challenges in the country today. Through fisheries, these two requirements can be fulfilled.While the required financial support is being provided to the farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs connected with the fisheries sector through various ongoing programs namely, Centrally Sponsored Schemes, National Fisheries Development Board, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana etc. still, enhancement of productivity and production are the key challenges in achieving the targeted production.
Realizing the great scope for the Development of Fisheries, the Hon’ble Prime Minister has called for “a Revolution” in the fisheries sector and named it as “Blue Revolution”. It visualizes “Creating an enabling environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries keeping in view the sustainability, bio-security and environmental concerns”. The Blue Revolution, encompassing multi-dimensional activities, focuses mainly on increasing production from aquaculture and fisheries resources, both inland and marine. The vast fishery resources offer immense opportunities to enhance fish production through aquaculture-system diversification, species diversification, proper management, introduction of new and advanced technologies in both marine and inland sector, adoption of scientific practices and application of suitable fish health management strategies etc.
I believe that various ICAR research institutes as well as other research organizations in India have been able to develop new technologies which have the potential for enhancing productivity and production of various aquaculture and fishery resources. To make this happen, technology has to be brought to the doorstep of the user community. I urge fisheriesscientists to promote the activities for capacity building and training of the fishermen, and encourage use of new technologies enthusiastically on the ground. With a view to focus exclusively on fish production and productivity, hygienic handling and processing, value addition and marketing of fish and fishery products we have also established the National Fisheries Development Board at Hyderabad as an autonomous body under our Ministry. Let me also emphasize that while focusing on production, there is also a need for value addition, processing, hygienic handling and promotion of domestic fish marketing including mobile fish vending units for ensuring remunerative prices to the producers along with good fish for the consumers.
I am happy to know that as part of World Fisheries Day, the DAD&F have invited eminent experts, scientists, progressive fish farmers and fishers and entrepreneurs engaged in fisheries sector and interested entrepreneurs to have first hand interaction. I have also had the honor to felicitate some of the fishers/fish farmers who have come from different states of the country. I wish that all the relevant information and knowledge available during this event should be fully availed of by fishers, fish farmers and other stakeholders to enhance their understanding on various issues of the fisheries sector. They should also take suitable advice and guidance from experts in the field. I thank the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries for successfully organizing this ‘World Fisheries Day’ and the National Fisheries Development Board as a sponsor of this event and I wish the whole event a grand success. I thank and extend my best wishes to all of you.