Agri Business

Fisheries export likely to be down by 5-10 per cent this year: Giriraj Singh

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 26, 2020

Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh   -  PTI

India’s fisheries exports could be five to 10 per cent lower as compared to the previous year, but more accurate data will be available only after proper tabulation of data which is expected by June, Minister of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Giriraj Singh said on Tuesday.

India’s fisheries exports have been growing at a rate of around 10.8 per cent annually, while production in the country grow by about 7.5 per cent in the recent years, the Minister said.

Even though the fishing activity was affected during the first phase of lockdown, the government decided to allow fishing, both in the sea as well as inland, from April 15 onwards. The government took a conscious decision to allow fishing keeping in mind the adverse impact that poultry sector had due to misinformation campaigns during the Covid-19 outbreak, Singh said while addressing reporters here.

The Minister was briefing the media on the recently-launched ₹ 20,000 crore PM Matsya Sampada Yojana, which was unveiled as part of the Atmanirbhar package by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He said this would be used for augmenting inland and marine fish production, improve infrastructure like cold chains and promote cage fishing.

Out of ₹20,000 crore announced as part of the scheme, ₹ 11,000 crore will be used for improving production and promotion of fisheries, while the rest ₹9,000 crore will be used for building infrastructure, Singh told reporters while releasing a document on the scheme.

Currently, the productivity of pond-based inland fisheries is 3.3 tonnes per hectares and the government would strive to increase this to 5 tonnes per hectare in near future. According to him, currently the total pond area used for fisheries is about 22 lakh hectares.

Similarly there is an area of 31 lakh hectares in reservoirs available for fishing, but their productivity is a paltry 120 kg per hecare as of now. The department of fisheries has come out with a plan to introduce cage fishing in these reservoirs. Quoting experts, the Minister said as many as 200 cages can be built in each hectare of reservoirs and can produce as much as 4 tonnes of fish per hectare. In the first phase, the government plans to target those reservoir areas where water is nearly 15 to 20 metres deep, Singh said.

There would be a scheme to promote fisheries in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh, where almost 1.75 lakh hectares is affected by saline water. There would be cluster based approach to encourage fishing in these States, Singh said.

On export front, the government would explore two new channels – seaweed as well as ornamental fishing. Even though the global market for seaweed is around $20 billion, India till date made an attempt to get into seaweed exports, 80 per cent of which is cornered by China and Indonesia. Similarly, ornamental fish exports. He hoped that these could become a major income generating opportunity for women self help groups.

Published on May 26, 2020

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