ICAR–Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has started work on developing a policy for mariculture, a specialized branch of farming of aquatic plants and animals in salt water, to deal with the fast declining fish production along Gujarat’s coast.
The institutes have identified certain sites based on scientific research in all the coastal districts of the state to develop mariculture. The state government will issue the lease to small fishermen to adopt mariculture.
ICAR is in the process to frame the National Policy on mariculture (NCM). It’s Veraval regional centre in Gujarat, the biggest in the country, has identified certain stretches on the entire coastal line of 1600 km that can be developed as mariculture site.
Rajan Kumar, a scientist at ICAR Veraval said, “Satellite-based remote sensing data and geographical information system have been used to identify potential zones for mariculture keeping in mind the prevailing environmental parameters and avoiding conflict with present users.”
“We have identified most of the sites for mariculture and we will announce these soon after some final formalities. State government may lease those sites to cooperative societies of fishermen community and we will provide them technical support and training,” he said. Recommended By Colombia
Mariculture includes cage farming, bivalve farming, seaweed culture, hatcheries and nursery based farming as per scientific criteria. Explaining the benefits of the mariculture, Kumar added “This will stop overexploitation of the sea and ease the pressure on natural resources. At the same time, we will be able to increase fish catch.” Mariculture developed rapidly in Andhra Pradesh, but in Gujarat too it has a huge potential.
A meeting of all the stakeholders, from boat owners to fishermen of Gujarat and Maharashtra was organized in Veraval last week, to invited suggestions about the the proposed national policy. According to reports, fishermen unequivocally supported the demarcation of mariculture zones in the sea and emphasized that once a site is declared as mariculture zone, it should not be extended for other activities in future. They also demanded stringent control of pollution watchdog.
Fishermen of Gujarat have been complaining about the decline in the fish catch for the past several years. For the first time, fishermen from Veraval will travel to as far as Maharashtra and Karnataka in hope of better catch this year.