In a bid to put Andhra Pradesh on the world fisheries map, the state government is set to unveil mega plans in setting up of the infrastructure and technology for inland and marine fisheries and aquaculture to raise production.
On World Fisheries Day, the state government will unveil the plan to develop infrastructure and address the issues of fishermen.
According to the Chief Minister's Office release, Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of fish and prawns in the country and contributes 40 per cent of India's total marine exports value.
Fisheries contribute 7.4 per cent to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and provide employment opportunities to 14.5 lakh people.
But over the past few years, marine and inland fisheries in the state suffered due to lack of sustained attention by the earlier governments and other factors.
"The previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP)-led government had permitted to set up pharma companies in the hatchery zones in East Godavari District, which are polluting the sea in that zone. In our action plan, once an area is declared as a hatchery zone, no other industries will be given permission in that area," said Mopidevi Venkatramana Rao, Fisheries Minister.
Rao further added that Fisheries is a vital sector of the state's economy, which was ignored by earlier governments.
"In our election manifesto, we had promised to address the issues of the sector including issues of diesel oil subsidy, power tariffs and relief for fishermen during the ban period. With this policy, we have taken steps to redress the situation. I see fisheries as an important contributor in our aim to make Andhra Pradesh into a USD 1 trillion economy," he added.
The state government has proposed to develop fishing harbours and jetties for the hygienic landing of marine catch, tap deep-sea fishery resources, dredge river mouths for easier passage of vessels, and promote marine cage farming and implement fishermen welfare schemes, among others.
It has developed an aqua farmer and fishermen oriented approach with an emphasis on the welfare of fish farmers and fish production.
To promote marine fisheries (/search?query=fisheries), the government has allocated Rs 100 crores during 2019-20 to develop three new fishing harbours at Vodarevu (Prakasam district), Uppada (East Godavari) and Juvvaladinne (Nellore) and strengthen the existing harbours in Nizampatnam (Guntur) and Machilipatnam (Krishna).
The government has increased the budget sanctioned to the Fisheries Department from Rs 386 crores during 2018-19 to Rs 551 crores during 2019-20.
It also proposes to spend Rs 56.53 crores to set up 46 integrated aqua labs for use of tested and quality inputs for aquaculture.
The government has also provided Rs 78.24 crores as compensation to 16,559 fishermen affected by the dispute with Gujarat State.
Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), doubled ex gratia to deceased fishermen's families from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs, reduced power tariff, and increased diesel subsidy to Rs 9 per litre from Rs 6.03 per litre.
The state government's financial boost to the fisheries sector offers many opportunities for joint ventures for value addition, cold chain development and management, promote exports, especially of highly valued species, and bring in advanced technologies to enhance productivity and ecotourism (through aqua parks and oceanariums). (ANI)