At a time when the state government has identified the fisheries sector as a growth engine for social economic development and chalking out different strategies to tap the potential of marine industry, Visakhapatnam district has recorded phenomenal growth in marine production in the past five years.
According to state fisheries department, marine fish, marine shrimp, inland fish, inland prawn production and brackish water shrimp culture in the district increased to 1.54 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 from 1.26 lakh tonnes in 2015-16. However, the production in brackish water shrimp culture has been lagging behind in 2016-17 when compared to the previous year of the corresponding period.
“Unlike in the past, untreated effluents from pharmaceutical units in Visakhapatnam are not being released into the sea as stringent measures have been taken by the Pollution Control Board (PCB). This is one of the reasons for growth in marine production,” said R Lakshmi Narayana, APPCB environmental engineer.
Expressing happiness over the growth figures of marine production, experts of the industry also raised doubts whether this growth trend will always be possible in the ensuing years. They are of the view that only rational exploitation of the state’s fishery resources would help in sustainable development of the industry.
“At this stage, marine industry should act with caution. The increase in fish production at a higher rate also means we are catching more and more marine species. If special efforts are not taken to multiply the fish or shrimp population, it would spell doom to the marine industry, following loss of jobs and livelihood,” said G Sambasiva Rao, Sravan Shipping Services, Managing Director and president of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce.
However, a professor of Andhra University Marine Living Resources Department said one cannot draw inferences about water pollution by taking fish catch rate figures into consideration. The professor suggested that a special study on the fish and shrimps would reveal about the kind of pollutants that have entered into the bodies of marine living species and claimed strongly that pollutants were being mixed with coastal waters. Marine production statistics for last 5 years in Visakhapatnam district.