Experts at a national campaign on ‘Fish for Health and Prosperity’ highlighted the importance of fish as a nutritious food for humans and alleviating malnutrition in society.

The campaign was launched by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR CIFT) as a mark of commemorating the 75th year of Indian independence as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Expressing concern over the declining status of thriving marine fishery industries, KN Raghavan, Chairman, Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) suggested aquaculture as the emerging sector sharing the major demand for fish for consumption. He was speaking during the campaign’s inauguration.

Raghavan also emphasised the major issues leading to ocean famine whereby the livelihoods of millions of fishers are affected and the availability of cheap and nutritious fish is impacted. He called upon to resolve these issues to save the planet.

CIFT’s achievements highlighted

Leela Edwin, Director, CIFT highlighted the importance of fish consumption, its present status in the country, and the nutritional values associated with fish. She briefed the major achievements of CIFT and its contributions toward sustainable fishing and its role as a pioneer in fishery business incubation.

Shivakumar Magada, Dean, College of Fisheries, Mangalore pointed out the efforts under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) which may lead India to 20 million tonnes of fish production by 2025. He also complimented CIFT for its pioneering role and excellent contributions to fish processing and nutraceutical development.

Pricing inequality for fish

The issues of price inequality for fish among different markets, the minimum scale of economies for fishery entrepreneurship units in comparison with major agricultural and horticultural products were also discussed during his talk.

Chadag V Mohan, Principal Scientist, World Fish, Malaysia recommended the successful inclusion of aquatic foods in daily diets through various schemes as policy implications. He suggested integrating nutrition-sensitive fish-agri-food systems and shared some success stories of intervention of fish-based nutrition using small indigenous fish under WFC projects in Odisha and other parts of the world.

More than 1,200 participants took part in both offline and online modes, representing various ICAR Institutes, College of Fisheries, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and other research organisations comprising scientists, students, academicians, researchers, extension professionals, and other stakeholders.