India is the second largest fish producing country in the world as it accounts for 6.3 per cent of the global fish production, a release by the Fisheries Department said. It also said the fisheries sector in the country is growing at the rate of 7 per cent, sustaining 14.5 million fishermen.
The release quoted Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, as saying that there is a huge potential in harnessing tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
In her inaugural address at the 23rd session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), Sibal said 30 per cent of the Indian EEZ is spread across the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands, but only 1 per cent comprises production of tuna fish.
Emphasising the need for regional cooperation between IOTC member countries, the official said there is a need for responsible and sustainable management of tuna.
The IOTC has to ensure that there is a level playing field between developed and developing nations, she said.
Sibal added that fisheries is a sun rise sector in India, considering the commercially viable global tuna market which stood at USD 11.38 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 13.75 billion by 2023, the release said.