Aimed at improving the fisheries in Lakshadweep, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has taken efforts to develop a fishery management plan for the sustainable harvest of fish stock.

According to A Gopalakrishnan, CMFRI Director, the institute intends to develop the fishery management plan as the region is in urgent need for a well-accepted global market network.

The main objectives of the project are: to assess the stock of exploited marine fishery resources; to analyse the economic performance of fishing methods and market dynamics; and assessing the socio-economic status of fishers in the region.

Fishing is the main occupation of Lakshadweep, which has a coastline of 132 km. Around 13 per cent of the population are active, full-time fishermen. The success of the fishery depends on tuna pole and line fishing– they are one of the most environmental-friendly and socially desirable ways of catching tuna. Collection of bait fishes is the prime component of the pole and line tuna fishery, said K Mohammed Koya, Principal Investigator of the project.

He pointed out that the marine fisheries sector in Lakshadweep has undergone tremendous changes in the recent years, and the emphasis has now shifted to increasing production.

However, the task of sustaining coastal fisheries is assuming a challenging proposition, with increasing demand on fish for nutritional security, scarcity of bait, as well as extrinsic pressures on fishing due to climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and irrational fishing, he said.

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