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  • 12 April, 2021

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Fisheries Sector

Fisheries Sector

Fishing is one of the oldest occupations of man. Fish provides protein-rich food and is also a big source of vitamins A, B and D.

There are about 30,000 species of fish in the world out of which about 18,000 are found in India.

Fish forms an important part of diet of the people living in the coastal areas.

India is the 6th largest producer of fish and 2nd largest producer of inland fish in the world. The fisheries sector provides employment to over 14 million people.

World Data

Overall, the value of frozen fish exports rose by an average 19.1% for all exporting countries since 2015. Year over year, there was a downtick in the value of global frozen fish exports falling by -2.6% from 2018 to 2019.

India is at 10th position in frozen fish exports with 2.2% of world share.

Three countries posted declines in their exported frozen fish sales: United States (down -7.2%), India (down -6.7%) and Iceland (down -0.5%).

Frozen shrimp is the top item of export of india’s fishing, accounting for 38.28% in quantity and 64.50% in earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased 16.21% in quantity and 20.33% in dollar terms.

Destination for India’s seafood products: The U.S. accounted for nearly 30% of the imports in dollar terms. South East Asia, with a share of 29.91% in dollar terms, remained the second largest. It was followed by the EU (17.98%), Japan (6.83%), the Middle East (4.78%), China (3.50%) and other countries (7.03%).

SHAPHARI Certification.:

National Residue Control Programme (NRCP) and Pre Harvest Test (PHT) initiatives implemented by MPEDA, development of Certification in Aquaculture which is named as ‘SHAPHARI’ meaning superior quality of fishery product suitable for human consumption is another milestone initiative to address the above issue on food security.

Certification of hatcheries for production of antibiotic free seed has emerged as one of the main interventions to free Indian aquaculture from the use of antibiotics.

Factors promoting Fish Production

  • Mixing of Warm and cold currents
  • Upwelling Zones

Factors affecting Fish Production

  • Water Clarity, Water Temperature, Water Depth And Water Oxygen, Nutrient

The fish catch in India is of two types:

  1. Sea or Marine Fisheries: It includes coastal, off-shore and deep sea fisheries mainly on the continental shelf upto a depth of 200 metres.
  2. Inland or Fresh Water Fisheries: Rivers, lakes, canals, reservoirs, ponds, tanks, etc. contain fresh water and provide fresh water fisheries. Inland fisheries also include those obtained from estuaries, delta channels, back-waters, lagoons and coastal lakes.

Inedible fish

  • Rich source of animal protein for livestock feeding.
  • Fish scales and fishery wastes are also a source of organic manure.

Marine Fisheries

India has a coastline of over 7,517 km and its continental shelf spreads over 3,11,680 sq km. This entire area is suitable for marine fisheries. It is estimated that of all the marine fish landings, 75% are on the West coast and only 25% is contributed by East coast.

The important fish caught along the coast are shark, sardine, herring. anchovies, Mumbai duck, fly fish, ribbon fish, mackerel and Indian salmon.

Mackerel accounts for about one-third of the total catch.

India's offshore and deep sea fish catch is very poor considering the marine potential of 20-25 million tonnes annually. Only 10-12% is caught at present. Only 11 per cent of the potential fishing grounds are more than 200 metres deep.

Following are the reasons for sad state of affairs(Mains)

  1. India has tropical climate in which fish cannot be preserved for a long time. Heavy expenditure on refrigeration and deep freezing increases the market price of the fish.
  2. Indian coast does not have many gulfs, bays, estuaries and backwaters as is the case with Norway. As such, it lacks good fishing grounds.
  3. Marine fishing in India is a seasonal phenomenon. Strong winds during the monsoon season accompanied by tropical cyclones often hinder fishing operations.
  4. Majority of Indians are vegetarians and do not eat fish. Rest eats less compared to global average. As against a global average of 25 kg per annum, Indian’s fish protein intake is less than 5 kg per year among non vegetarians.
  5. About 60% of the fishermen still use small non-mechanised boats.

Fishing in India is a major industry employing 14.5 million people. India ranks second in aquaculture and third in fisheries production.

There has been a continuous increase in fish production over the past five years from 2013-14 to 2019-20.

  • As per available government data, the contribution of fisheries to Gross Value Added (GVA) is around 1.07% of the GVA and 5% to agriculture GDP.
  • The export value of fisheries in 2019-20 was ?47,618 crores.
  • India’s share in world fishing exports is 4.4%.
  • Fish production stood at 14.07 million tonnes in 2019-20.
  • State wise data (2017-18): The best performing states in terms of fish production are AP> WB> GJ> OD> TN> UP> Mah.
  • Even though the production is 2nd highest in West Bengal, the production is almost half of that in Andhra Pradesh which accounts for the largest production in India. Andhra Pradesh accounted for 27% of the fish production in India in 2017-18.
  • Production in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have increased by 71% and 65% over the eight-year period 2013-14 to 2019-20
  • Inland fishes contribute to almost two-thirds of the net fish production in the country.
  • While the marine fish production in India increased by 7.75% in the span of six years, the inland fish production increased by 58.2%. The data for 2018-19 is provisional, according to Lok Sabha answer given in February 2020.
  • The overall fish production increased by around 38.5% in these six years. contribute to almost two-thirds of the net fish production in the country.
  • While the marine fish production in India increased by 7.75% in the span of six years, the inland fish production increased by 58.2%. The data for 2018-19 is provisional, according to Lok Sabha answer given in February 2020. The overall fish production increased by around 38.5% in these six years.

Leading Fish Producing States in India

2017-18 Rank


Total Production

(in lakh metric tonnes)


Andhra Pradesh



West Bengal









Tamil nadu


Sea Weed: Tamil Nadu is the largest producer of seaweed in India producing 22 thousand tonnes followed by Gujarat, Maharashtra and Lakshadweep.

Government Measures :

Atmanirbhar package, the Central Government has announced a new scheme by name ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)’ with the objective to bring about ‘integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries.’

Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) was launched, a corpus of ?10,000 crores was announced in the Union Budget in 2018 to meet the infrastructural requirements in the sector.

Government has aimed at a stable increase of around 8% in annual fish production, under blue revolution mission. The annual growth dropped to below 5% in 2015-16 and touched the highest of 10.2% in 2017-18.

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying was created in 2019, with two separate departments- Department of fisheries and Department of animal husbandry & dairying to focus on livestock and fisheries in the country.


  • Food and Agricultural organization ( FAO) .
  • Its released every two years.

Sl. No.

Top Import ers


Top Export ers


Top 5 Inland Fishing Countries

Top 5 Marine Fish capturing countries

Total Aqua Culture Prodn(million metric tonnes)

Total Capture Prodn







Marine- 30.8

Marine- 84.4




India(14%) -2nd


Inland- 51.3





Bangladesh (10%)

Indonesia (8%)

Total- 82.1

Total- 96.4






Total(in 2018) is 178.5mmt Capture & Aquaculture








India(4%) -6th

A seven-member committee, headed by Dr. B. Meenakumari, Deputy Director General (Fisheries), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was formed for comprehensive review of deep-sea fishing Policy.

Meena Kumari Committee recommendations:-

  • Sustainable exploitation of fisheries and a holistic plan for the resource consumption in the coastal areas.
  • Diversify fishing using deep buffer zones and development of technology to exploit water beyond 500 meters
  • Squid fishing to be increased.
  • Trained domestic crew on board and capacity building of the existing Indian crew.
  • Requested the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (CIFNET) Kochi to design appropriate courses for different category of operators and conduct training programs

Government should consider setting up of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in selected places to make tuna fishing more renumerative.



The most important fishing grounds of the world are found in the regions where

  1. warm and cold atmospheric currents meet
  2. rivers drain out large amounts of freshwater into the sea
  3. warm and cold oceanic currents meet
  4. continental shelf is undulating

Ans: a

World Efforts for Sustainable Fishing

SDG 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development – and the other SDGs

United States, NOAA Fisheries is responsible for fisheries management in waters 5-321 kilometers (3-200 miles) from land.

In India- Cage Culture,


PMMSY is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country as a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

It aims to:

  • Adopt ‘Cluster or Area-based Approaches’ and create fisheries clusters through backward and forward linkages.
  • Focus especially on employment generation activities such as seaweed and ornamental fish cultivation.
  • Address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of the value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare.
  • Consolidate the achievements of the blue revolution and bring new interventions such as fishing vessel insurance, support for new/up-gradation of fishing vessels/boats, integrated aqua parks, e-trading/marketing, etc.


  • Enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne and increase fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
  • Double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers.
  • Reduce post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10%.
  • Generate an additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in the fisheries sector and allied activities.

Source: Khullar TH

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