India has vast potential for fishes from both inland and
marine resources, due to its long coastline, huge reservoirs, etc. It
is the fourth largest producer of fish in the world. It is also the second
largest producer of inland fish. The contribution of fisheries to the
GDP is around 1.4%. From 0.75 million tons in 1950, the fishery sector
has grown to the production level of 6.4 million tons worth Rs.
million, and an export of nearly Rs.
70,000 million. Nearly 10 million
people, living in 4,000 coastal villages and more number of interior villages,
depend on fisheries to earn their livelihood.
Development of brackish water and freshwater aquaculture
has tremendous scope in India. Out of a total area available for culture,
only 30% of fresh water area and 10% of brackish water area is utilized.
Huge production, consumption and export has made this sector an important
part of the Indian economy. The major thrust in fisheries development
has been focused on optimising production and productivity, augmenting
export of fishery products, generating employment and improving welfare
of fishermen and their socio-economic status. The target is to increase
the fish production from the current level of 60 lakhs MTs to about 95
lakhs MTs by 2020.
Besides, by increasing the processing facilities in fishery
sector, particularly for domestic consumption, the fishery farmers can
earn more for their produce and the consumers in the far flung areas of
the countries could also get benefited who can get nutritious food easily.
For this, the rate of capacity utilization of fish processing sector needs
to be raised, as there exists several business opportunities in the fish
processing sector of the country.
With the liberalised policy, fish processing sector has
been attracting more foreign investments. Over the years, considerable
infrastructure facilities for processing of marine products have been
developed. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries extends financial
assistance for setting up/ technology upgradation/ modernization of fish
processing units. During 2006-07 (upto December 2006), 17 fish processing
units have been assisted.
Processing of produce into canned and frozen forms is carried
out almost entirely for the export market. In all, there are about 393
freezing units, 13 canning units, 160 ice-making units, 12 fish meal units
and also about 476 as on (30-11-99) cold storage units. Processed fish
products for export include:- conventional block frozen products; individual
quick frozen products (IQF); minced fish products like fish sausage, cakes,
cutlets, pastes, surimi, texturised products and dry fish; etc. However,
processed IQF marine products fetch better price than conventional block
frozen materials in the foreign markets. Different IQF products suitable
for export are shrimp, lobster, cattle fish, clams and fish fillets. All
this shows that there are several investment opportunities available in
the fisheries sector, in terms of production and processing.
Foreign equity is permitted in the fish processing sector.
Further, fish processing projects with a minimum of 20% value addition
can be set up as 100% Export Oriented Units. All items can be exported
freely except for silver pomfrets of weight less than 300 gms.
But, India's substantial fishery resources are highly under-utilised and
it is widely recognised that there is immense potential to increase the
output of this sector.
However, fishery is a State subject and the primary responsibility
for its development rests with the State Governments. There exists innumerable
opportunities for the promotion of entrepreneurship in fisheries, in various
States and/ or Union Territories (UTs) of the country. Some of them are:-
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The ecosystem and
geographical location of Islands offer a vast marine potential for the
fishing and marine sector (mainly sea farming activities), owing to its
long coastline and a unique and rare marine habitat. Tremendous opportunities
are available for the fishing and marine industry. The estimated marine
potential of the islands is 2.44 lakh tonnes, which remains optimally
untapped. The islands unique ecosystem provide possibility of wide range
of species, which could be caught, cultured, processed and marketed on
values. Further, the large expanse of ocean provides opportunity for industrial
scale cultivation of seaplants, pearls, oysters, mussels, etc. But, lack
of processing infrastructure, cold chain, and transport support have not
allowed the sector to realise its potential. So, efforts are being made
to identify opportunities while looking into environmental concerns and
potential for diversified decentralized supply chain.
2. Assam: Assam is a predominantly fish consuming
State. Here, the demand for fish is very high. The hypsographic profile
and the river systems of Assam reveal rich repository of aquatic resources
that have great potential for production of fish. The fisheries resource
of Assam comprises important river basins, namely, Brahmaputra, Barak
and their tributaries. There is potential for producing both the cold
and warm water fisheries. The State with two major river systems, several
beels, lakes, tanks/ ponds and swamps is endowed with valuable fishery
resources. Comprehensive development of these water resources calls for
identification of potential, proper planning and phasing.
3. Chhattisgarh: The State possesses vast and varied
natural water area available for fish culture in the form of river, reservoirs,
ponds and tanks. About 1.58 lakhs hectare average water area is available
for fish culture. The State has two major river system, namely, Mahanadi
and Godawari and their tributaries forming a network of 3573 km. About
90% water area has already been brought under fish culture. The fisheries
sector has been recognized as a powerful income and employment generator
and play an important role in rural economy and are a source of cheap
and nutritious food. More than 1.50 lakh fishermen in the State depend
on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihood. Fisheries sector occupies
an important place in the socio-economic development of the State. It
caters primarily to the need of socio-economically weaker and backward
communities of fishermen.
4. Kerala: The Government of Kerala give top priority
to the fisheries sector, because:- (i) this sector provides employment
and income to more than one million people, either directly or indirectly;
(ii) it satisfies the protein requirements of a considerable chunk of
the population; and (iii) it provides considerable revenue, especially
in foreign exchange, to the exchequer of the State. Hence, it has undertaken
several projects and programmes for increasing production, for conserving
and ensuring sustainable exploitation of fisheries wealth, for promoting
cultivation of fish and prawns, for development of fishing harbours and
facilities for landing of fish, for strengthening facilities for marketing
of fish, and for the upliftment and welfare of the fisher-folk. The importance
of fisheries sector in Kerala and the advantageous position that Kerala
enjoys as a maritime State is to be considered in the National policies.There
is a great need to introduce recent trends in fish processing technology,
in order to maintain the State's position in international market. Government
is also envisaging the Fisheries
Policy, which is the blue print of the action plans for the developments
in the sector and the welfare activities envisaged for the next twenty
5. Goa: Fishing is the traditional and important
economic activity of the State. Goa, being located on the west coast of
India, has a coastline extending over 100 kms and inland waterways of
another 250 kms, rich in marine wealth. Prawns, the valuable foreign exchange
earner, mackerels, sardines, etc. are available in plenty in Goa coast.
Many small scale units based on fisheries resources like salt curing of
mackerels, fish meat, fish oils, dehydration of fishes, etc. are being
set up. The fishing activity has also given a big boost to canning, freezing
and other fish processing units in the State.
6. Lakshadweep: Due to its beautiful beaches and
pollution-free environment, the Lakshadweep has become a great tourist
destination for activities like watersports, fishing, etc. The people
of UT are mainly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Fishing
is one of the mainstay of the people. It has become the main source of
income of the people of Lakshadweep, besides coconut cultivation. Lakshadweep
has a coastline of 132 Km and lagoon area of 4,200 sq. km. The sea around
the island is highly productive. The islands stand first in the country
in per capita availability of fish. During 2004, 10,300 tonnes of fish
have been landed in the UT. The main fishery is developed on skipjack
tuna. The estimated potential resources of the sea around Lakshadweep
is about 1 lakh tones of Tuna and equal quantity of Shark.
7. Odisha: The State attaches top most priority to
the growth of agro based and food processing industries. The Government
has framed an agricultural policy with the aim of increasing investment
in agriculture, with special focus on fisheries and fish processing. The
'State Reservoir Fishery policy' has also been announced with a view to
augment fish production in the State by harnessing the vast untapped /undertapped
reservoir resources. The objectives of the policy are to:-
- Generate gainful rural employment with special reference
to the fishing communities;
- Introduce systematic management strategies both for conservation
and sustained fish production;
- Attract increasing investments from private sector;
- Stimulate entrepreneurship for fishery sector with special
reference to reservoir fishery;
- Substitute traditional methods by introduction of advanced
technology in operation of reservoir fishery;
- Develop skill among fishermen/ fisherwomen in reservoir
operation and organizational strengthening;
- Generate substantial revenue for the State.
8. Puducherry: Marine product processing is
an important component of agro-processing industry. Puducherry's long
coastline provides ample opportunities for the growth and development
of its fisheries sector. There exists great scope in shrimp culture and
crab farming. The modern fishing harbours are at Thengaithittu, Puducherry
and Karukalacheri, Karaikal.