The Centre will promote open sea cage fish farming on priority basis to boost fish production from marine sector, said Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today.
Currently, fish output in India is estimated to be 11.4 million tonne (MT), of which only 32 per cent comes from marine sector and the majority 68 per cent from inland fishery sector.
Going by scientists' estimates, the minister said, fishery resources of near-shore waters in the 200 metres depth zone are either optimally utilised or sometimes over-exploited, which is a matter of serious concern for the livelihood of traditional fishermen.
"The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries (DADF) has formulated a document on Mission Mariculture-2022 with the objective of enhancing fish production from marine sector," said Radha Mohan.
He was speaking at the inter-session meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Agriculture Ministry at Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. It is proposed to promote mariculture including open sea cage culture activity in all maritime states on priority basis, he said in a statement.
The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has recommended to promote open sea cage fish farming across the country after the success of pilot projects at 14 locations.
Open sea cage farming is one of the eco-friendly farming activities under mariculture which is being practiced in open sea where wave action is less. These are high value fishes and hence have a huge export value.
Considering the negligible opportunities of additional fish production from the near shore, the government has decided to promote 'marine culture fisheries' and included the sub-components of 'Mariculture' under 'Blue Revolution' scheme.
With fish demand expected to touch 15 MT by 2020 against the production of 11.4 MT, the minister also mentioned that the gap of 3.62 MT is likely to be filled by inland aqua-culture and also through mariculture.