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Union Minister stresses on need for research in upgrading vessels to promote deep-sea fishing | Ahmedabad News

Union MoS for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, L Murugan, on Wednesday underlined the need for “research and design in upgrading fishing vessels” to harness the potential of deep-sea fishing in a sustainable way.

Speaking at a technical session on the concluding day of the two-day Global Fisheries Conference India 2023 in Ahmedabad, Murugan said, “Tuna fish are in high demand worldwide and India has the potential to increase its tuna fishing capacity. However, we need technological advancements in this area.”

“The government is providing up to 60 per cent financial assistance to traditional fishermen to convert their vessels into deep-sea fishing boats. Loan facilities are also available to facilitate this transformation,” he added.

Murugan emphasised the need for modern fishing vessels equipped with in-built processing facilities to maintain international quality standards for deep sea fishing. Acknowledging that traditional fishermen currently lack these capabilities, he ensured that the government was committed to address this gap.

Speaking at another technical session, senior fishery officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, Simon Feunge-Smith, said the per capita fish consumption had increased by 37 per cent across the world in the last 25 years while aquaculture production had increased by 250 per cent in the same period.

Festive offer

He called for enhancing blue finance for innovations and developments in the aqua culture in view of critical threats posed by climate change and increasing demand for food and nutritional security.

“Asia provides 89 per cent of global aquaculture production with 82 million tonne. The sector creates jobs for 20.5 million people in the primary sector,” Feunge-Smith said.

Deep sea fishing is undertaken beyond the limit of territorial waters, which is 12 nautical miles from the shore, and within the exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles from the shore.

World Bank consultant Arthur Neiland said despite the promising potential of yellowfin and skipjack tunas in India’s EEZ, with an estimated harvest of 179,000 tonne, the actual harvest is a mere 25,259 tonne, indicating a utilisation rate of only 12 per cent.

He emphasised the need for investment from the public and private sector in deep sea fishing, which could generate economic, social and environmental benefits.

“Utilising India’s strong institutional base, with expertise in fisheries science and management, fish processing and infrastructure will also be beneficial for deep-sea fishing development plans,” Neiland said.

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