Indian government to invest Rs.25,000 crore in fisheries in 3-5 years

As part of the ambitious Blue Revolution project, the Union government has lined up Rs.25,000 crore to invest in different segments of the fisheries sector in the next three to five years. The funds will be used to build infrastructure. The government expects to double inland fish production to 6 million tonnes.

Rajni Sikhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries told Hindu BusinessLine, “We are looking at three types of support by way of infrastructure development in harbours; extending subsidies to joint venture projects to set up hatcheries/nurseries/quarantine facilities as well as viability gap funding to establish processing plants, and cold chain facilities at harvest or landing sites.

The amount will be disbursed through different schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Sampada Yojana and World Bank schemes. The government has already started a fishery infrastructure development fund with ₹Rs.7,300 crore, an interest subvention scheme.

As inland fisheries contribute only 50 per cent of the total fish production, the government intends to augment its potential by covering reservoirs, wetlands, rivers and streams in different parts of the country. “We are planning to promote cold water fisheries in the entire Himalayan region to rear high-value fish varieties. We will soon sign an MoU with Iceland and Denmark to breed trout fish, a high-value variety. We have already signed an MoU with Norway in this regard,” she added.

Considering the low contribution of inland water fisheries, the government is looking to double its production to six million tonnes from the current three million tonnes in the next three to four years.  The focus would be on ensuring quality, disease control and traceability of marine food products from “farm to fork” or from “catch to consumer.”

The proposed Marine Fisheries Regulation and Management Bill will regulate EEZ of the country and ensure that “our waters are utilised by our own fishermen,” the Secretary said in reply to a query on the reported intrusion of foreign fishing trawlers on the Indian EEZ. There are also proposals to issue unique license numbers and insurance for fishing trawlers and crew by levying a small fee. The money collected would be used for the safety measures of the fishing community, she added.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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