Total fish production in India was 12.59 million tonnes (mt) and the country exported 1.38 mt fish and fish products with a value of over Rs 45,000 crore in 2017-18, according to latest data released by the government on Thursday.
According to the Handbook on Fisheries Statistics – 2018, unveiled by Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, while inland capture fisheries accounted for 8.9 mt, the share of marine fisheries was 3.69 mt. India is currently the second largest producer of fisheries after China.
Growth in production
The total fish production in 2017-18 was 10.14 per cent more than 11.43 mt produced in 2016-17. Inland fisheries, which grew at 14.05 per cent accounted for much of the growth. Marine fisheries production, on the other hand, went up by only 1.73 per cent in 2017-18.
Andhra Pradesh, which captured 3.45 mt of fish, topped the Indian States, followed by West Bengal which accounted for 1.74 mt. While Andhra Pradesh, retained the top position in inland capture fisheries with 2.85 mt, Gujarat with 7.01 lakh tonnes was number one in marine fisheries. There has been steady growth in the export of fish and fish products from India.
During 2017-18, the volume of fish and fish products exported was 1.38 mt and Rs 45,107 crore in value. The export of marine fish products registered an annual growth of 21.35 per cent in volume and 19.11 per cent growth in value.
Briefing the media on the occasion, the Minister said the government had drawn up plans to increase marine exports to Rs.1 lakh crore over the next five years. Towards this, the Centre will invest Rs 25,000 crore in the fisheries sector, he said.
Investment in infra
The funds will be used mainly for improving fishing infrastructure and strengthening processing and post-harvest management. The Centre has already extended financial support to the States to develop fishing harbours in seven major ports and commissioned 181 fish landing centres, he said.
Currently, the productivity of India's inland fisheries is just 3 tonnes per hectare, which Singh said needs to be improved substantially.
While the government cannot force people to eat fish, the growing protein intake in the country would lead to more people opting for fish, Singh said. As against a global average of 25 kg per annum, Indian’s protein intake is less than 5 kg per year. This is expected to go up significantly in the coming years, the Minister said.