Kerala must host an international summit on fishing for the crucial sector to make a steady development in the coastal state, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has said.
The Centre will provide all the support for such a summit that can feature experts from countries like Korea and Japan that are major consumers of India’s marine food, he said after inaugurating a pioneering multi-species aquaculture complex built by the Marine Products Export Development Authority in Vallarpadam island. The Rs 7.26-crore state-of-the-art facility in 9 acres facilitates production of marine food from disease-free breeds, featuring a hatchery for black tiger shrimp and six nurseries.
Noting that value-added products will play an increasingly decisive role in the growth of the fishing sector, Prabhu said India was aiming at a 60-million-dollar turnover of Agricultural exports in the next five years. He called upon fish farmers to eye international market and fulfill international business parameters.
The Minister exhorted fish farmers to rely majorly on sustainable technology, adding that MPEDA will offer help on this front. “India’s fishing sector is facing multiple problems, also owing to climate change. That gives fresh vitality to aquaculture using inland water-bodies,” he added. Minister emphasized that export should be the ultimate aim of each aqua farmer and they should ensure that the aquaculture produce are sustainable and meets the export quality norms. MPEDA will offer all kinds of assistance in this direction, he added.
The new MPEDA project will cater to the demand from the aquaculture farmers in Kerala as well as the neighbouring states. Its highlight is a hatchery for black tiger shrimp and six nurseries for Mud crab and 4 varieties of fin fishes namely Seabass, Cobia, Silver Pompano and GIFT (Genetically improved Farmed Tilapia). The hatchery has an annual production capacity of 20 million post-larval Black Tiger shrimp, and the nurseries can produce 16.5 lakh fingerlings of fin fishes and 0.5 lakh crablets which will help the farmers to diversify and scale up the aquaculture production.
J. Mercykuty Amma, Kerala Minister for Fisheries said the MPEDA complex will boost Kerala’s fishing sector. “As much as 57 per cent of the country’s fish production comes from aquaculture, but this is much less in Kerala” she added. K.V. Thomas, MP, expressed the concern on dwindling catches from the marine sector and hoped that MPEDA’s new facility at Vallarpadam will help to compensate the gap in fish production through aquaculture.