Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over the low productivity levels in aquaculture.
“It is a matter of great concern that the country tapped only a fraction of the aquaculture potential that is available to it. We utilise only about 40 per cent of the available 2.36 million hectares of ponds and tanks for freshwater aquaculture,” he said.
The country tapped about 15 per cent of a total potential of brackish water resource of 1.2 million hectares.
Calling for efforts to improve yields, he said country’s freshwater aqua culturists give yields varying from 1.5 to 4.5 tonnes a hectare annually as against 10 to 15 tonnes in China and Israel.
'Better R&D needed'
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the fifth edition of Aqua Aquaria India-2019, he Naidu called for increased investments in fish and shrimp hatcheries and greater research and development support with strong linkages between research and development agencies to develop the sector.
The three-day expo is being organised by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
About 5,000 stakeholders from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and several other States are expected to take part in the expo, where about 200 companies and organisations are showcasing their equipment and services.
The Vice-President said that aquaculture should be streamlined through a set of regulations and codes of practices for various sub-sectors with suitable penal provisions for violation.
“Activities and responsibilities of different institutes working for the development of aquaculture with different plans and allocations are to be defined to avoid ambiguity and duplication,” he said.
“We need to invest in diversified aquaculture species and establishment of aquaculture estates, feed mills and ancillary industries,” he said.
India, the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 13.70 million tonnes during 2018-19, earns 10 per cent of its total exports from fisheries. With export earnings of 7 billion, India is the fourth largest exporter of fish in revenue terms.
The contribution of fisheries to the Gross Domestic Product is about one per cent and about 5.37 per cent to the Agricultural GDP.
“The need to boost fish production is felt now, more than ever to ensure food security to our billion-strong population. Since over 16 per cent of animal protein supplies originate from the fisheries sector, the sector is identified as a major factor contributing to food security,” the Vice-President said.
He said the country’s vast and diverse aquatic resources offered great opportunity for expansion of aquaculture.