It helps in augmenting food supply, generating employment, rising nutritional level and earning foreign exchange. More than six million fisheries and fish farmers, a majority of whom live in 3937 coastal villages, besides fishermen hamlets along major river basins and reservoirs in the country, depend on aquaculture and fisheries for their livelihood.
The sector has also been one of the major contributors to foreign exchange earnings through exports. India is the third largest fish producer in the world and second in the Inland fish production. The fisheries sector contributes Rs. 19,555 crore to national income which is 1.4% of the total GDP. The Inland fisheries sector has registered an impressive growth rate of 6.55 per cent per annum in the 1990s.
The country is endowed with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending to 20.2 lakh sq. kms with a continental shelf area of about 5.2 lakh sq. kms; having about 8118 kms coastal length with some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. The estimated potential for fish production from inland water bodies is about 4.5 million tonnes (mt). The main inland fishery resources include about 1.20 million hectares (mha).
Of brackish water area, about 23.81 lakh ha. Of fresh water ponds and tanks, about 7.98 lakh ha. Lakhs and about 20.31 lakh ha. of reservoirs, besides about 1, 91,000 kms of rivers and canals.
Types of Fisheries:
More than 1,800 distinct species of fish are known to exist in the areas around the country and in the inland waters but very few varieties are caught in appreciable quantities. Pisciculture experts have classified the commercially important varieties of sea fish into 15 groups and fresh water fish into 8 groups.
The sea fish group (comprising marine and estuarine fisheries) includes elasmobranchs, eels, cat fish, silver bar fish, herrings, anchovies, Mumbai duck, mackerels, perches, silverbellies, flat fishes, mullets, Indian salmon, jew fish, crustaceans, shell fishes, dorab and mullets.
The fresh water fishes are grouped under cat-fishes, mullets, carps, prawns, murrels, feather backs, loaches, perches, eels, herrings and anchovies. Carps form the most highly esteemed variety, including such species as rohu, katla, mrigal, calbaus which are well known throughout India.
India with a coastline of about 6,100 kms. into which numerous large and perennial rivers discharge their silt-laden waters and a continental shelf of more than 0.16 m. hectares in the form of a narrow belt from shore to about 200 metre line, the two arms of the Indian Ocean and a large number of gulfs and bays, creeks along with the extensive backwaters, estuaries, lagoons, and swamps along with the entire coastline has large potential fishery resources.
Fishery resources can be classified into four categories viz., (1) Marine; (2) Freshwater; (3) Estuarine; and (4) Pearl fisheries.
(1) Marine Fisheries:
Marine capture fisheries play an important role in India’s economy. The sector provides employment and income to nearly two million people. Marine fish production level has risen from 0.53 mt in 1950-51 to 32 lakh tonns in 2010-11 with a growth rate of 3.5 per cent. Accounting for about 55% of the total annual production marine fisheries including the coastal fisheries and off-shore and deep-sea fisheries constitute the more important source of fish in India.
(2) Coastal Fisheries:
The coastal zone, up to 25 metres depth and stretching for a few kms from the shore, is the most intensive fishing zone of India, accounting for almost the entire marine fish production in the country. The fishing in this belt is composed of pelagic species like sardines, mackerel and lesser sardines and bottom species like Bombay duck, silver bellies and shrimps. Herrings, sardines and anchovies together account for 65% and tunas, bonitos, mackerels, crustaceans, shark, rays, skates, flounders and halibuts account for most of the remaining 35%.
About 69% of India’s total production of marine fish is landed along the West Coast in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Goa and Daman and Diu in that order of importance. The area has a potential of 60 lakh tonnes of bottom-dwelling fish and 20 lakh tonnes of pelagic fish.
The present catch is around 20 lakh tonnes. The East Coast accounts for relatively smaller production, about 28% of the country’s total annual output of marine fish; it amounted to about 8-9 lakh tonnes against a potential of 32 lakh tonnes including 14 lakh tonnes of bottom and 18 lakh tonnes of pelagic fisheries. The Indian islands have only a small production at present.
Apart from the six major fishing harbours, i.e., Cochin, Sassoon Dock (Mumbai), Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Roychock (Calcutta) and Paradip, 28 minor fishing harbours and 113 fish landing centres have been constructed to provide landing and berthing facilities to fishing craft. A Brackishwater Fish Farmers Development Agency (BFDA) provides a package of technical, financial and extension support to shrimp farmers in the brackishwater zone in all the coastal states.
The fisheries of the west and east coasts of India are strikingly different. Along the west coast, fish is caught from Ratnagiri to Kanya Kumari. It contributes more than 75 per cent of the total sea fish landings in the country.
The fishing season here is from September to February and generally extends up to March. The higher fish production on this coast is attributed to the broad continental shelf and the oceanic character of its water. Besides, the waters have a more pronounced seasonal cycle and higher phosphate and nitrate contents, resulting in greater plankton productivity. The major fisheries like the sardines, mackerel and prawns are almost solely confined to the west coast.
On the east coast, Ganjam is the northern point of occurrence of fishing. Fishing season here starts from July to October on the Andhra coast and from September to April on the Coromandel Coast.
The circulation of waters on this coast is less pronounced. The north-east monsoon winds (which sweep over the Bay of Bengai) are moderate and of shorter duration. The occurrence of large rivers and coastal lakes, such as, the Chilka and the Pulicat, has provided scope for estuarine fisheries. The fisheries on this coast are conspicuous by the paucity of sardines and mackerel, their places being taken by horse mackerels, clupeoids and silver bellies.
Off Shore and Deep-Sea Fisheries:
Deep sea fishing comprises fishing in offshore and distant parts of the high seas for surface, mid-water and bottom form.
Deep Sea Fishing Stations have been set up at Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, Tuticorine and Vishakapatnam aided by the co-operation of Norweigian, Japanese and United States governments. The exploitation of these resources is done by power-driven vessels and highly mechanised gears such as trawls.
The most important commercial fishes of these grounds are: rawas (India Salmon), dara, (giant thread-fin), ghol (Jew fish), koth, warn (sea eel), perches, shark, karkara, pomfrets, catfishes, rays, silver- bellies, curangids, shende and dhoma. Off shore and Deep Sea fishing has not been developed fully so far in India and accounts for only a small production of marine fish. Active steps, however, are being taken to exploit the off-shore and deep sea fisheries in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Survey of marine resources for locating fishing grounds in the off-shore and deep sea areas has been intensified. Exploratory and experimental fishing is being carried out from the 11 major ports and 3 more bases are in the process of being set up. The UNDP/FAO Pelagic Fisheries Project has acquired a large research-cum-fishing vessel of 46.3 m length. Apart from regular ship based surveys using acoustic equipment, an airborne survey has also been carried out.
(3) Inland or Fresh Water Fisheries:
About 45% of the country’s total fish production comes from inland fisheries including the fresh water fisheries like tanks and ponds, rivers, irrigation canals, reservoirs and freshwater lakes; and the estuarine fisheries like estuaries, delta channels, back waters, lagoons and coastal lakes.
Most of the fresh water fishing is carried out with hooks, lines and other trap devices and boats are used only in large fresh water lakes and reservoirs. In the salt water of estuaries, delta channels and coastal lagoons, back waters and lakes, small catamarans and dinghies are mostly used.
The total area of tanks and ponds in the country is estimated at 20.2 lakh ha of which only 8 lakh ha or 37.50% is exploited for pisciculture. Besides, the country has 27,359 km length of rivers, 1, 45,928 km length of irrigation canals, 21 lakh ha of reservoirs and small lakes and 26 lakh ha of brackish waters near the sea coasts.
The Fishery Survey of India (Mumbai) responsible for the survey and assessment of marine fishery resources of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has 12 ocean going survey vessels presently operated from bases at Porbandar, Mumbai, Mormugao, Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Port Blair and now engaged in the demersal resources survey along both the coasts and around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Two pelagic resources survey projects are also planned – one along the North-west Coast for coastal tuna resources by purse-seining and the other by midwater trawling for pelagic resources along the Andhra Coast. Under oceanic resources survey programme two projects were planned for survey of tuna resources along the North-west Coast, North-east Coast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and one for shark resources along South-east Coast. Efforts are also under way to use satellite remote sensing and sea truth data for assessing the resource distribution. Under the Deep Sea Fishing Policy of 1991, a number of vessels under joint ventures started operating from 1993.
At present permission to 16 companies is valid for 61 deep sea fishing vessels out of which 18 vessels are in operation. Quick growing species with non-predaceous feeding habits are generally selected for cultivation in ponds, tanks and reservoirs.
Catla, labeo rohita, l.calbasu, l.fimbriatus, I. kontius, I. bata, cirrhinus mrigala, c. cirrhosa, c. reba, puntius, carnaticus, cyprinus carpio, etroplus suratensis, osphronemus goramy, chanos, mugil cephalus, channa marulius and channa striatus are such common varieties.
In brackish water estuarine fisheries, the fish found are mostly marine species like clupeoids, anchovies, catfishes, perches and pearl-spot, the last two being most important. Fresh water fisheries constitute the mainstay of inland fisheries and are carried on rivers, canals, irrigation channels, tanks, ponds, lakes, etc. The Ganga and Jamuna systems in U.P., Bihar and West Bengal; the Brahmaputra in Assam; Mahanadi in Orissa etc. provide the bulk of India’s fresh water fish.
Fresh water fisheries are divided into two categories: the pond fisheries and the riverine fisheries.
(a) The Pond Fisheries:
There are no organised pond fisheries in India. A large number of village tanks and domestic ponds, particularly in West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa are stocked with mixed fry collected from rivers. Pond culture is also widespread in U.P., M.P., Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The species generally stocked in ponds are catla, rohita, kalabasu, bata, mringal, mullets, milk-fish, pearlshot, carp, etc.
(b) Riverine fisheries:
About one-third of the total fish production in India comes from rivers. Fresh water fishing is very active during the winter season from October to March, in the large rivers when flood usually subside. The principal fresh water fisheries are: catla, kalabasu, tor, mringal, vacha, amabas, mullets, feather backs, herring, hilsa, eels and anchovies.
West Bengal is the largest producer of fresh water fishes accounting for nearly 29 per cent of India’s fresh water fish. The second and third positions are occupied by Bihar and Assam respectively. West Bengal, Bihar and Assam account for more than 72 per cent of the total fresh water fish marketed in the country.
The Inland Fisheries resources in the country comprise 29 thousand km. of rivers and their tributaries, 30 lakh hectares of reservoirs, 15 lakh hectares of tanks and ponds and 14 lakh hectares of brackish water swamps.
(4) Estuarine Fisheries:
These fisheries are confined to the estuaries, backwaters, tidal estuaries, lagoon, inundated areas and swamps along the entire coast. Estuarine fisheries, are prominent in estuarine areas of the rivers Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery, Narmada, and Tapti; the brackish water lakes of Chilka and Pulicate; and the backwaters of Kerala.
The fishes constituting the estuarine fisheries in India are mostly marine species that can withstand variations in salinity. Important among them are: Hilsa, milk fish, anchovies, mullets, cat fishes, perches, gouramy, pearlshot. These are noted for food.
The embanked brackish water fisheries in Malabar have been set up in the low lying paddy fields, (known as pakkali fields), prawns, mullets and chromides are important catches.
The Chilka Lake is an open shallow brackish water lake. Important catches are catla, rohu, mullet, bekti, etc. The Sunderbans with innumerable perennial canals, ponds, marshy bils, ox-bow lakes and rivers provide ample opportunities for estuarine fisheries in an area of about 5,800 sq. miles but due to lack of rapid transport facilities; these are not fully exploited.
(5) Pearl Fisheries:
Pearls of high value are obtained from pearl-oysters. These are usually found on the ridges of rocks or dead corals forming extensive pearl banks at a depth of 18-22 meters and a distance of 19 km. from the shores. The pearl-oysters of the east coast are more extensive and productive than those of the west coast and extend from Cape Comorin to Kilkarai, the most productive region being the central zone near Tuticorin.
These beds yield excellent quality oriental pearls or the lingha pearls. On the west coast the pearl-oysters are fished in the Arabian sea near the edge of the Kathiawar peninsula as well as in the Gulf of Kutch-which are rich in oyster beds yielding pearls of high quality. The principal centres of pearl fisheries in India are in the Gulf of Manaar, Gulf of Kutch, and Palk Bay.
In South India, pearl-oysters are harvested by divers, but in Kutch and Saurashtra they are exposed at low-water spring tides and are easily collected by hand. The pearl beds are under the control and supervision of the State Governments.
Though almost every state and union territory in India has some fish production, about 70% of the country’s total catch of marine hash is landed in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and 51% of inland water fish is caught in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Only a small production is accounted for by the land locked states.
There are 46 important fishing ports besides a large number of fishing villages studded along the coast of Gujarat which contributes about 13-14% of India’s total annual fish production, 90% of it as marine fish. Kandla, Porbandar, Dwarka, Navabandar, Jafferabad and Umbergaon are the leading centres of production.
The principal fish varieties caught include Bombay duck, pomfret, Jew fish, Indian salmon, tunnies, grey mullet, mackerel, eel and shark. There are 22 cold storages and 3 shark liver oil extracting centres. Bulk of the production is marketed through the 350 cooperative societies organised in the state.
Maharashtra contributes about 11% to the annual total national output of fish. Bombay, Ratnagiri, Alibag, Kolaba and Bassein are leading centres of production. About 4.79 lakh persons are engaged in fishing operations using 9,000 traditional fishing craft and 7,665 mechanised boats. Mumbai duck, white pomfret, black pomfret, jew fish, Indian salmon, tunnies, grey mullet, mackerel, eel and shark are the chief varieties of fish off coast Maharashtra.
Cold storage and canning facilities have been developed fully at Mumbai. Estuarine fisheries have been developed in Mahim and the other creeks. There are four fresh water fish farms one each in Bhandara, Kolaba, Pune and Parbhani districts and brackish water farms at Thane, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg.
Fishing is carried on by almost every village along the coast and around the creeks of the Zuari, Mandovi, Sal and Arachol rivers in Goa. The state contributes about 2% to the national output. Mackerel, pomfret, shrimp, sardine, prawn and shell fish are the principal varieties caught. Mormugao is the largest centre of fish production in Goa.
The state produces about 6% of India’s annual total production of fish. Mangalore, Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Honnawar, Bhatkal, Majali, Bingri, Chendia, Gangolli, Malpe, Udiayawar and Bokapatnum are the leading centres of production.
Among the principal fish varieties caught are sardines, mackerel, seer, sharks and prawns. Inland fishing is most intensive in the creeks of the Netravati, Sharavati and Kal rivers. Landing, processing and canning facilities are being developed at Mangalore for off shore and deep- Sea fishing under the Indo Norwegian Project.
Contributing about a fifth of the country’s total annual production of marine fish, Kerala is the foremost fish producing state in India. Cochin, Trivandrum, Quilon, Calicut, Baypore, Azhikode, Ponnani, Cannanore, Balipatnam and Vizhinjam are leading centres of production. Besides these, there are 264 fishing villages studded along the 590 km-long coastline.
Oil sardines, prawns, horse mackerel, soles, lactarius and shark are the most important marine fisheries. The estuaries of rivers and the back-waters behind Kottayam are some of the most intensively fished zones of India. These inland fisheries abound in prawns, barbus, clarius, mullet, etroplus and murrles.
Most of the fish trade is handled by producers’ cooperatives, credit societies and regional marketing societies, and marketing federations, among which the Kerala Fisheries Corporation is the largest. About 50% of the country’s total processing capacity is located in Kerala; it includes cold storage facilities at Calicut, Cochin, Quilon and Trivandrum; a liver oil extraction plant at Cochin and fish canning factories at a number of places.
It is estimated that 60% of the total production is consumed within the state, 22% is sent to the other states and 18% is exported, which constitutes the bulk of the total Indian exports of marine products. Refrigerated railway wagons regularly transport fish from Cochin to Chennai.
Tamil Nadu has a long coastline of nearly 1,000 km and as many as 1.6 lakh persons in the state earn their living from fishing and its contribution to the national output of marine fish is 9%. Besides Chennai, which is the largest centre, Tuticorin, Ennore, Cuddalore, Mandapam and Nagapattinam are the other important fishing ports.
Tuticorin has a fish canning and fish-meal plant and Ennore a freezing plant. Two more freezing plants are under construction at Mandapam. Mackerel, silver bellies, ribbon fish, catfish and soles are the principal varieties of marine fish caught.
Andhra Pradesh is the second largest marine fish producing state along the East Coast. It contributes about 7% to the annual total output of fish. Visakhapatnam, Masulipatam and Kakinada are the largest centres of fish production, besides a large number of villages located along the coast. Oil sardines, mackerel, silver bellies, ribbon fish, catfish, and soles are the important fish varieties caught.
There are fish producers’ co-operatives handling the bulk of the production. Refrigerated railway vans operate regularly between Vijayawada and Calcutta transporting fish to West Bengal a large deficit area in fish.
The state produces 382.503 thousand tonns of fish. The Chilka Lake is one of the most intensively fished inland regions of India and the state has 24,000 km2 of continental shelf with a coastline of 480 km studded with 62 landing centres and 329 villages engaged in fishing. About 2.23 lakh persons are engaged in the fishing activities of some type or the other.
Hilsa, megalops, elopes, perches, mullets, milkfish, catfish, thread pins, pomfrets, shrimp, croakers, sharks and rays are the important fish varieties caught in the inland fisheries. The state has 14,630 traditional crafts and 1,118 mechanised boats used in fishing operations. Among the major marine catch are included pomfert, bhetti, mackerel, prawn, topsi, hilsa, chanda, bhola, Bombay duck, ribbon fish, shark rays, rock cod, skate, eel, catfish and phasa.
With a third of India’s total production of inland fish and nearly 6% of the marine fish, West Bengal is a leading state in fish production in the country. The state has 2,526 km of rivers and canals and 157 km of coastline studded with 57 landing centres and 652 villages and nearly 6 lakh persons engaged in the various fishing related activities. Roychock-Calcutta Shore complex and Roychock- Fishing Harbour are the leading centres of fish landing, Dighe and Fraserganj come next.
The state has 4,361 traditional crafts and 1,880 mechanised boats engaged in fishing and 90% of the total production of fish is in inland varieties, which happens to be the largest among all the Indian states.
Pomfret, Bhetti mackerel, prawn, topsi, hilsa, chanda, bhola, Bombay duck, ribbon fish, shark, rays, rock cod, skate, eel, catfish and phasa are the major marine varieties caught. Hilsa, megalops, elopes, perches, mullets, milk fish, catfish, threadpins, pomfrets, shrimp, croaker’s sharks and rays are important varieties caught in salt water inland fisheries.
Inland fisheries including lakes, reservoirs, tanks, ponds, rivers and canals are found in all the states other than the coastal states, fisheries of which have been discussed above. The Ganga and its tributaries form major inland fisheries along with a large number of jheels and ponds in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Carp varieties like labeo rohita, I.calbasu, 1. gonius, mrigala and catla, minor carps and minnows are the chief types of fish caught. The reservoirs of the Damodar Valley Corporation, Rihand, Ramganga and several other projects are also used for a pisciculture.
In Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Sutlej, Ravi and Beas and a host of other small rivers and reservoirs like Govind Sagar, Nangal Barrage, Harike Barrage and Beas offer leading fisheries with goonch, silond, mulley nalakhi, singhari, khaga, rohu, gid, bhagan, mori, soonnee, theila, kharni, mahseer, pari, etc. as the chief fish varieties.
The Brahmaputra River supports a rich fishery in Assam; it is though not fully exploited so far. Carps, catfish and hilsa are the chief varieties of the fish found. Hill trout is found in large numbers in the lakes and rivers of Jammu and Kashmir. Mahseer and Katla fishes are found in many reservoirs, rivers, tanks and ponds of Madhya Pradesh.
Causes of Backwardness of Indian Fishing Industry:
(i) Fierce competition in business as a result of many people fishing in the same area is affecting the viability of the fishing industry. Consequently, the processing industry suffers from lack of adequate raw materials to keep it going resulting in huge financial losses.
(ii) Most of the fish are caught from October to February/March. But wide fluctuations are caused in the catch by weather or other conditions resulting in erratic price movements.
(iii) Peril to fish from storms and gales on the sea, particularly on small craft, is considerably greater than in other occupations.
(iv) The product, fish itself, is one of the most perishable commodities coupled with the fact that the climate is sub-tropical, most of the catch is consumed in areas located near the coast or in the neighbourhood of the landing places. This limits the market for fresh fish.
(v) Adequate fishing equipment is expensive. The crafts and implements used are of rudimentary type which cannot stand the rigours and requirements of off-shore or deep-sea fishing so that fish resources farther away than 16 km. or in deeper water are exploited to a very-limited extent.
(vi) Small fishermen are hard-pressed for capital to improve or replace gear nets and boats. They are very poor and heavily indebted to the middlemen who take as much as 50 per cent of the net sales proceeds from the fishermen as charge of hire of boats, nets and other fishing equipment.
(vii) Over-fishing to the extent of near exhaustion point and destruction of fry have depleted many areas, specially in West Bengal, as evidenced by the decrease in the catch and by the prevailingly younger age of the fish taken.
(viii) Gradual silting of rivers and ponds, reclamation of jhils and other fishery resources owing to the increasing pressure of population and the neglect of tanks and other sources of water supply consequent upon the development of better irrigational facilities has also led to a progressive decline in fish production.
Fisheries Development Programmes:
Fisheries development programmes under the plans have three main objectives, viz.,
(i) Increase in fish production to meet protein requirements,
(ii) Development of export potential of fish and fish products, and
(iii) Improvement in the economy of fishermen.
Fisheries development programmes fall into two parts:
(a) Marine fisheries and (b) Inland fisheries.
(a) Marine Fisheries Development:
Schemes of marine fisheries consist of mechanisation of fishing craft, exploratory and experimental fishing to locate new grounds, improvement of fishing methods and practices increasing the supply of fishery requirements, and provision of adequate facilities for landing, preservation, transport and marketing of fish. Apart from major fishing harbours, viz., Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Roychowk and Paradip, 30 minor fishing harbours and 130 fish landing centres have been constructed to provide landing and berthing facilities to fishing crafts.
The Government is providing subsidy to poor fishermen for motorising their traditional craft which increases the fishing areas and frequency of operation with consequent increase in catch and earnings of fishermen. About 38,000 traditional crafts were sanctioned for motorisation up to 2001-02. Improved beach landing craft made of plywood, fibre glass and other light materials are also being supplied to groups of fishermen.
The Government has also been operating a scheme of reimbursing the Central excise duty on HSD oil used by fishing vessels below 20 m length to offset the operational cost, incurred by small mechanised fishing boat operators.
(b) Inland Fisheries Development:
Scheme for the development of inland fisheries aim at increasing production through surveys, exploitation of reservoirs, introduction of fish culture techniques, development of riverine fisheries, improvement of village ponds for fish-culture, fish seed production, induced breeding and construction of nursery farms.
In recognition of the important role of inland fisheries in overall production offish the Government has been implementing an important programme in inland sector, viz., Development of Freshwater Aquaculture through the Fish Farmers Development Agencies (FFDAs). These agencies provide a package of technical, financial and extension support to fish farmers.
A network of 422 FFDAs is functioning now covering all potential districts in the country. Water area brought under intensive fish culture through the efforts of these FFDA is 4.56 lakh hectares up to 1997-98. The agencies have trained 5.77 lakh fish farmers in improved practices.
Deep sea fisheries can be developed by: (a) ascertaining the behaviour of the water by studying the physical, biological and chemical aspects of oceanography; (b) the use of long range fishing vessels, stream trawlers and mechanised boats with freezing, and processing plants on board capable of storing large quantities of fish while voyages of several days can be made : (c) more efficient handling of gear and the use of marine radar (for detecting the presence of sholes of fish), echo-sounding and other electronic devices for locating fish; (d) providing landing and berthing facilities for larger vessels at major ports and for smaller boats at minor ports.
These ports should be equipped with servicing and repair workshops, ice factories, cold storages and other ancillary facilities. The supplies of fish can be augmented by adopting presently known methods of fish culture.
The reservoirs in our river valley projects offer great scope for fresh water fisheries of great magnitude. What can be done in this direction is demonstrated by the experience on the Tungabhadra dam where supplies of fish (for fish culture) have been increased within a few years from 700 to 300,000 pounds. The dam is known to be capable of a yield of more than 1866.3 tonnes.
That the same water, conserved for flood control, power generation and irrigation of land, can also be utilised for growing another rich crop-that of fish-without affecting project benefits for lessening their utility, is yet to be adequately realised. The D.V.C., Bhakra-Nangal, Koshi, Hirakud, Chambal, and other projects offer immense potentialities for fish culture on a large scale.
Brackish Water Aquaculture:
The objective of this scheme is to utilise the country’s vast brackishwater area for shrimp culture. So far, an area of about 27,492 hectares has been developed for shrimp culture, till 2004-05 through 39 Brackish water Farm Farmers Development Agencies (BFDA). Presently, Brackishwater Fish Farmers Development Agencies (BFDA) functioning in the coastal areas of the country, provide a package of technical, financial and extension support to shrimp farmers.
Guidelines prepared for sustainable development and management of Brackishwater Aquaculture have been circulated to all maritime States and UTs and other user agencies. The guidelines incorporate measures for mitigating the adverse impact, if any of shrimp farming on the coastal eco-system. Presently about 50 per cent of shrimp exported from the country is through acquaculture.
Development of Fishing Harbour:
The Government has been implementing a scheme with the objective of providing infrastructure facilities for safe landing and berthings to the fishing vessels. Since inception of the scheme, six major fishing harbours, viz., Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Roychowk, Paradip and Sassoon dock (Mumbai), 40 minor fishing harbours and 151 fish landing centres have been constructed. 19 minor fishing harbours and 38 fish landing centres are under construction.