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Govt Offers Up to 60% Financial Aid for Traditional Fishermen Transitioning to Deep-Sea Fishing: Dr L Murugan

Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries, Dr. Sanjay Pandey, emphasized the high value of deep-sea resources, citing the India Ocean yellowfin tuna with an end value exceeding 4 billion US dollars.

Shivam Dwivedi
Govt Offers Up to 60% Financial Aid for Traditional Fishermen Transitioning to Deep-Sea Fishing: Dr L Murugan (Photo Source: PIB)
Govt Offers Up to 60% Financial Aid for Traditional Fishermen Transitioning to Deep-Sea Fishing: Dr L Murugan (Photo Source: PIB)

In a strategic move aimed at enhancing India's fisheries production, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Dr. L Murugan, affirmed the Central government's unyielding commitment to supporting traditional fishermen in their transition to deep-sea fishing.

This announcement was made during a technical session on 'Deep Sea Fishing: Technology, Resources, and Economics' at the Global Fisheries Conference India 2023 held at Gujarat Science City, Ahmedabad. Dr. Murugan highlighted the government's initiatives, the Blue Revolution and the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), as key drivers for this transformative process. The government is offering up to 60% financial assistance to traditional fishermen to convert their vessels into deep-sea fishing boats, accompanied by loan facilities to facilitate the transition.

The minister underscored the necessity of modern fishing vessels equipped with in-built processing facilities to meet international quality standards for deep-sea resources, such as tuna. Recognizing the current lack of these capabilities among traditional fishermen, Dr. Murugan assured the government's commitment to bridging this gap.

India, with its vast coastline, has the potential to significantly increase its tuna fishing capacity. Dr. Murugan called for increased participation from startups in the deep-sea fishing sector and urged research efforts to focus on reducing fuel costs and exploring the use of green fuels in fishing boats. Research and design innovations are crucial for upgrading fishing vessels to harness the potential of deep-sea fishing sustainably.

World Bank Consultant, Dr. Arthur Neiland, acknowledged the promising potential of yellowfin and skipjack tunas in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but highlighted the underutilization, with an actual harvest of only 25,259 tonnes out of an estimated 179,000 tonnes. He stressed the need for public and private sector investment in deep-sea fishing, promoting economic, social, and environmental benefits.

The panel discussion at the conference proposed collective and inclusive efforts to develop a systematic framework for the development of deep-sea fishing. Panelists included experts such as Deep Sea Consultant Dr. Manell Zakharia, Scientist-G Dr. Prashant Kumar Srivastava, and Senior Scientist Dr. P Shinoj, among others.

Deep-sea fishing, conducted beyond the territorial waters and within the EEZ of 200 nautical miles from the shore, is crucial for addressing the increasing demand for food and nutritional security. Simon Feunge-Smith, Senior Fishery Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), emphasized the importance of blue finance for innovations and developments in the aquaculture sector. He highlighted that global aquaculture is projected to provide 59% of fish for human consumption by 2030, with Asia contributing 89% of the production.

Feunge-Smith advocated for supporting sustainable practices by small-scale fisheries and aqua-farmers to promote the growth of the aquaculture sector, which currently sustains jobs for 20.5 million people in the primary sector. As climate change poses threats and the demand for food security rises, these efforts aim to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for India's fisheries industry.

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