Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Shri Parshottam Rupala, addressed the media to highlight the remarkable achievements of the Department of Fisheries over the past nine years. With a focus on the fisheries sector, Shri Rupala emphasized its significance in providing livelihoods, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities to millions of fishers and fish farmers across the country. The fisheries sector has witnessed substantial growth, making India the 3rd largest fish producing nation globally and the 2nd largest in aquaculture production.
The government’s commitment to the fisheries sector is evident from the record investments made in the last 9 years, amounting to Rs. 38,572 crore. Schemes like the Blue Revolution Scheme, Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF), and Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) have contributed significantly to its growth. Over the past 75 years, India’s fish production has surged by 22 times. In the last 9 years alone, annual fish production has reached an all-time high of 162.48 lakh tons, showing an increase of 66.69 lakh tons. The provisional figures for 2022-23 are even more promising, projecting a potential record of 174 lakh tons.
Inland fisheries and aquaculture production witnessed extraordinary growth, soaring from 61.36 lakh tons in 2013-14 to a whopping 121.12 lakh tons in 2021-22.These figures indicate a doubling of production in just 9 years, with aquaculture contributing significantly to this achievement.
- Kisan Credit Card (KCC) for Fishers and Fish Farmers: The KCC facility was extended to fishers and fish farmers from 2018-19, providing them with financial support to meet their working capital requirements. A total of 1,42,458 KCC cards have been issued to them to date.
- Investing in Infrastructure: The government has placed a strong focus on creating and modernizing Fishing Harbours (FHs) and Fish Landing Centres (FLCs) to enhance post-harvest operations. Projects worth Rs. 9028.29 crore have been approved under various schemes.
- Sagar Parikrama Yatra: Shri Rupala’s unique initiative of the Sagar Parikrama Yatra has enabled him to meet fishers at their doorstep, understand their challenges, and promote sustainable fishing practices.
- Group Accident Insurance Scheme (GAIS): Under PMMSY, fishers, fish farmers, and workers in fisheries-related allied activities are provided accidental insurance coverage. Over 33.21 lakh individuals have been enrolled in the Scheme during 2022-23.
- Co-operatives and Fish Farmers Producers Organizations (FFPOs):The government has taken measures to strengthen FFPOs and promote collectivization to enhance the bargaining power of fisheries co-operatives.
- Vessel Communication and Support System: The installation of a satellite-based Vessel Communication and Support System on fishing vessels aims to ensure the safety and security of fishermen at sea, enabling them to stay connected during adverse weather conditions.
- Contributing to National GVA: The fisheries sector’s sustained average annual growth rate of 8.61% from 2014-15 to 2021-22 has made it an essential pillar of India’s socio-economic growth. It currently contributes 1.069% to the National Gross Value Add (GVA) and 6.86% to Agriculture GVA.
- Booming Seafood Exports: India’s seafood exports have witnessed a remarkable surge, more than doubling since 2013-14. The export value reached an impressive Rs. 63,969.14 crore during FY 2022-23, showcasing a growth rate of 111.73% despite global challenges posed by the pandemic.
- Triumph in Brackish Water Aquaculture: The success of shrimp cultivation, especially in states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu, is a testament to the positive impact of government interventions. Shrimp production skyrocketed by 267% from 3.22 lakh tons in 2013-14 to a record 11.84 lakh tons (provisional figures) in 2022-23.
With these transformative initiatives and impressive achievements, the fisheries sector in India has reached new heights. The government’s dedication to the welfare of fishers and fish farmers has created a thriving industry, contributing significantly to the nation’s economy and livelihoods of millions. The future looks promising as India continues to emerge as a global leader in fish production and aquaculture.