Until now, we have heard about the traceability of organic foods but soon, fish-eaters will get to know the origin of the fish on their plate.
The newly formed Union Department of Fisheries will ensure information on the traceability of the fish being marketed in India. Union Secretary (Fisheries) Rajni Sekhri Sibal told media that “We are working on an IT-based solution that includes tools such as bar-coding, to track the fish at the place of origin & trace its journey till its destination”. She said, “This will help customers know from where the fish that they bought has actually come from”.
Last year, fisheries exports had contributed Rs. 47,320 crore, with 60% coming from the marine sector. Sibal puts the potential fisheries production at 23 million tonnes, but “we can achieve only 13 million tonnes, leaving a huge scope for improvement.”
Although the sector provides employment to 14.5 million fishermen, the average catch is very low at 7 to 8 kilograms, hardly providing subsistence.
She further said, “We are able to harness only 52% of the inland fishing potential & 54% of the marine potential. We ought to bridge a lot of gaps, develop new equipments & technologies to help the fishermen enhance productivity”. She added that the new Ministry may soon get “huge funds” as the government proposes a new scheme for development of the sector.
The Ministry for Fisheries is currently in the process of bringing forward legislation to develop the fisheries sector. She said, “We are ready with the draft Bills & hope to present them in Parliament in this session or in the next”.
One of the Bills will concentrate on the Economic Economic Zone in the seas while the other on marine animal diseases & control.
The Ministry will also reinforce the Hyderabad-based National Fisheries Development Board.