Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has called for an international summit hosted by the State on the fisheries sector for it to make steady development in the coastal belt.
The Union government would provide all support for such a summit that could feature experts from countries such as Korea and Japan which are major consumers of India’s marine food.
Rs. 7.26-crore facility
He was speaking after inaugurating a multi-species aquaculture complex built by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) on the Vallarpadom island. The 7.26-crore facility on nine 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, Mr. Prabhu said India was aiming at a 60-million dollar turnover from agricultural exports in the next five years. He called upon fish farmers to eye the international market and attain international business standards.
The Minister exhorted fish farmers to rely on sustainable technology
Meeting the norms
The Minister emphasised that export should be the ultimate aim of each aqua farmer and they should ensure that the aquaculture produce was sustainable and met the export quality norms.
He later distributed fingerlings raised at the MPEDA aquaculture complex to farmers and deposited a fresh bunch of fingerlings at its hatchery.
Minister for Fisheries J. Mercykuty Amma said that the MPEDA complex would boost Kerala’s fishing sector.
Less in Kerala
“As much as 57% of the country’s fish production comes from aquaculture, but this is much less in Kerala,” she added. She was presiding over the inaugural function. Aquaculture in the State should focus more on inland waterbodies, She said.
K.V. Thomas, MP, expressed concern over the dwindling catch from the marine sector and hoped that the MPEDA’s new facility at Vallarpadam would help fill the gap in fish production through aquaculture.