VK Ramachandran, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Planning Board, has suggested fishery scientists to explore the possibility of crowdfunding for research in the sector.

The successful model in Japan where two commercially viable fish varieties, which hit the market recently, were developed with crowdfunding support, he said adding that Kerala, unfortunately, is unable to ensure a free flow of funds to the fishery sector due to financial constraints.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the first International Fisheries Congress and Expo at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos), he said the State has nearly 10 lakhs marine fishermen, with more than half being women.

Earlier in his inaugural address, JK Jena, Deputy Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) called for harnessing scientific and technological advancements to improve fish production. He emphasized the incorporation and utilization of technological and research advancements, including those in biotechnology and genetics, to enhance fishery production in the country.

Currently, India holds the second position globally in fishery production, trailing only behind China, with fish being produced in 10,041 hectares, establishing India as a major player in global fish farming. While the area of fish cultivation cannot be increased, he said productivity and product quality can certainly be improved.

The three-day International Fisheries Congress, organized in cooperation with the College of Fisheries Panangad Alumni Association (COFPA), features discussions on sustainable practices in fisheries and addresses challenges faced by various stakeholders in the field.