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Parshottam Rupala Addresses Concluding Session of 19th Working Party on Data Collection & Statistics of IOTC Virtually

The outcomes of the Scientific Committee meeting are awaited, with hopes that they will pave the way for sustainable practices and collaborative efforts in managing Indian Ocean tuna stocks.

Shivam Dwivedi
Parshottam Rupala Virtually Addressed Concluding Session of 19th Working Party on Data Collection & Statistics of the IOTC (Photo Source: @FisheriesGoI/Twitter)
Parshottam Rupala Virtually Addressed Concluding Session of 19th Working Party on Data Collection & Statistics of the IOTC (Photo Source: @FisheriesGoI/Twitter)

Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala, emphasized the importance of the Scientific Committee in shaping policies for data collection, processing, and analysis in a virtual address to the 19th Working Party on Data Collection and Statistics (WPDCS19) of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) on December 04, 2023.

The event, organized by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, saw the participation of key stakeholders, including MoS for Fisheries, AHD & IB Dr. L. Murugan and Fisheries Minister of Govt of Maharashtra Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Rupala commended the efficiency of the Committee but expressed concern over the significant increase in catches, particularly of yellowfin and bigeye tuna, leading to overfishing concerns despite science-based conservation efforts. He highlighted the economic importance of tunas and pelagic species, contributing USD 41 billion annually, and stressed the need for collaborative efforts to manage these resources effectively.

India acknowledges the challenges posed by pollution, climate change, and industrial fishing to the Indian Ocean fishery resources.  Rupala noted the surge in industrial fishing in recent years, emphasizing India's commitment to sustainable fisheries management. Unlike some advanced fishing nations, India operates with modest-sized fleets within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), employing passive gear and leaving minimal environmental footprints.

The Union Minister underscored India's dedication to sustainability, citing the voluntary 61-day fishing hiatus adopted by traditional fishers to allow fish stocks to grow and regenerate. India's engagement in the sustainable harnessing of tuna resources stands out amid global concerns about overexploitation. Rupala urged advanced fishing nations to take responsibility for the damage caused to Indian Ocean tuna stocks. He referenced Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) for Mission LiFE, a public movement promoting environmental consciousness and responsible consumption.

The recent COP28 summit in Dubai saw PM Modi advocating for a ‘just and inclusive’ energy transition and calling on rich countries to transfer technology to help developing nations combat climate change. Rupala emphasized the need for a mindful and deliberate utilization approach, aligning with the Prime Minister's vision for a sustainable future.

The Minister anticipates that the scientific advice provided by the IOTC Scientific Committee will guide large industrial fleets toward aligning with management targets. This, in turn, is expected to combat the ill effects of climate change, ensure the sustenance of coastal communities, foster the development of Indian Ocean coastal states, and protect precious marine resources.

Delegates, representatives of IOTC member countries, scientists, and experts from various scientific institutions worldwide, as well as observers and officers of the State Government of Maharashtra, were present at the event, either in person or virtually.

Also Read: Nitin Gadkari to be the Chief Guest for 'MFOI Awards 2023'; Flag Off 'MFOI Kisan Bharat Yatra'

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