Andhra Pradesh is the leader in the country in the fisheries sector, especially in shrimp exports, but still there is plenty of untapped potential in the State and the State Government should further focus on the sector to scale greater heights, according to experts.
They were speaking a one-day seminar ‘AP FishTech 2018’ organised here on Friday by the Society of Fisheries Technologist, Kochi and the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Kochi (CIFT).
CIFT Director CN Ravishankar said the State’s contribution to national and global fish production amounted to 20.77 per cent and 1.19 per cent respectively, and the State has set itself the target of 42 lakh tonnes of production by 2020.
However, he said, value addition in the sector was still in the nascent stage in the State and “plenty of opportunities exist in the domestic and export markets for ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat fisheries products.”
He added the CIFT was focussing on post-harvest technologies and it would help the entrepreneurs in the field.
Foreign exchange inflow
V Padmanabhan, the President of the Seafood Exporters’ Association of India, said seafood exports were fetching ?40,000 crores in foreign exchange and AP’s contribution was the highest (?17,000 crores).
“That is the positive aspect, but there are still many challenges. A few of our export consignments to the European nations are getting rejected, due to antibiotic residues in the shrimp. We are persuading the aqua farmers not to use anti-biotics in ponds. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the AP fisheries department have also taken up a drive,” he said.
He said the foundation stone had been laid earlier this month at Bangarampeta near Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam district for setting up a shrimp brood stock multiplication centre and also quarantine facilities at a total cost of ?67 crores. It may be ready in 9 to 12 months. “It is a very major step for producing quality shrimp seed and also in ensuring chemical-free exportable seafood,” he said.
P Sankara Rao, the Joint Director of Fisheries, Visakhapatnam, said the sector was growing at 33 per cent per annum and “this year it may be 35 per cent.” The State Government had allocated ?400 crores in the Budget this year for the sector.
Attempts were being made to modify the existing fishing vessels for deep-sea tuna fishing or to acquire new vessels, he said and added that the government was giving incentives and subsidies for the purpose. The CIFT was also preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for tuna fishing along the coast. Cage culture and sea-weed culture would also be encouraged, especially with the participation of women, he added.
R. Raghu Prakash, the scientist in charge of the local centre of the CIFT, AA Zynudheen, scientist in charge of the Kochi centre of the CIFT, Subhadeep Ghosh, the scientist in charge of the local centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), J.K Sundaray, the Director of CIFA, Bhubaneswar, K Ashok Kumar, of the CIFT (Kochi), also spoke.