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TN plan to boost fisheries production, exports

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The mission is envisaged to annually augment fish production by 500 tonnes, freshwater prawn production by 160 tonnes and shrimp production by 1000 tonnes.

CHENNAI, July 17

THE Tamil Nadu Government has set up a specialised mission for Fisheries Development to boost production, exports, and generate employment in marine and inland fisheries, according to official sources.

The mission document has been finalised and the Fisheries Development Mission envisages an estimated expenditure of Rs 61 crore over the next five years, with the State Government bringing in Rs 7 crore and the balance from the Central Government and funding agencies. It will aim to develop integrated fisheries units and related industries utilising modern technology.

The Government had earlier constituted committees for preparing the Fisheries Development Mission Document, which have looked at various issues including aquaculture. Based on the document, the objectives of the mission will be to optimise yields from inland water resources, popularise integrated fish farming, utilisation of coastal resources to augment rural income, particularly those of the traditional fisher folk, encourage sea ranching, improve post harvest technologies and infrastructure.

The mission has set itself a five-year target and hopes to put in place various programmes focussing on these objectives. The development of fisheries harbours and fish landing centres, wholesale and retail marketing facilities, sea safety measures including supply of floats and global positioning systems to the fisher folk and research and development will be important focus areas.

A task force to monitor the progress of the mission's programmes will be set up, they said.

The State Government is exploring funding opportunities available through the Union Ministries including Agriculture and Food Processing, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Marine Products Export Development Authority, National Cooperative Development Corporation, National Institute of Ocean Technology and Department of Ocean Development. The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department will submit proposals for individual projects under the scheme.

The mission is envisaged to annually augment fish production by 500 tonnes, freshwater prawn production (scampi) by 160 tonnes from tanks and farms and shrimp production by 1000 tonnes from coastal farms. Sea ranching and artificial reef programmes are expected to enhance stocks available to coastal fisheries.

The Government has granted administrative sanction to the mission document and to the programmes planned under the scheme.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,076 km (13 per cent of the country's coastline), 1.9 lakh square km of Exclusive Economic Zone (9 per cent of India's EEZ) and a continental shelf of about 41,412 sq km.

The marine fisheries potential of the State is estimated at 7.19 lakh tonnes against 39 lakh tonnes estimated for the whole of India. Over 2.62 lakh fisher folk are actively involved in coastal fishing.

The inland fisheries sector has a water spread area of 370,000 hectares including 52,000 hectares of reservoirs, 97,000 hectares of major irrigation and long seasonal tanks. Over 4000 hectares is being utilised for freshwater aquaculture, and over 2900 hectares under shrimp farms.

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