Highlighting the country’s proactive stance on tackling the climate crisis in the fisheries sector, India has proposed for reduction of carbon footprint as a significant step towards climate resilient fisheries at the first session of the Sub-Committee on Fisheries Management under the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

The ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, presented India’s statement on Climate-Resilient Fisheries at the global body.

J Balaji, former Joint Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, led the Indian delegation.

CO2 emission per kg of fish caught in India’s marine fisheries is 17.7 per cent less than the global average according to a recent study, India’s statement said. It maintained that in terms of climate change India falls in the medium to high category considering the overall impact by 2050.

J Jayasankar, Head of Fishery Resources Assessment, Economics and Extension Division of CMFRI, read out the statement, highlighting India’s proactive stance on tackling the climate crisis in the fisheries sector.

The meeting, held virtually from FAO, Rome, was attended by members of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) plus one member organisation, representatives from three specialized agencies of the United Nations, observers from other FAO member nations and observers from intergovernmental and international non-governmental organisations.

A big step towards climate-resilient fisheries is harnessing the carbon sequestration potential of seaweeds to mitigate climate change impacts. India’s statement said that enhancing natural habitats to improve seaweed resources, expanding seaweed culture systems, and enhancing mangrove ecosystems may help lay the path for better carbon sequestration.

The country urged global and regional bodies to integrate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prediction with macro-indicators such as habitat upheaval, resource stress and market orientation. This integration, India suggested, would enable member nations to incorporate the insights into regulations, adaptations and integrated managerial strategies on a dynamic basis. 

CMFRI also presented India’s statement on Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Marine Fisheries Management at the meeting. This demanded the interlinking of reports on habitat mapping and valuation, fishery and assessment of both the stocks of targeted resources as well as those like marine mammals, and migratory species to develop regional indicators.

India informed the gathering that fishermen in the country are well aware of the role of biodiversity as this is quite evident from increasing reports of rescue of entangled marine mammals and sea turtles.