Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Parshottam Rupala informed that the fisheries sector of India has gradually evolved over the years to become an important pillar of socio-economic growth of the nation. Commencing purely as a traditional activity at the time of India’s independence, over the past 75 years, the sector has transformed into a commercial enterprise with a 22-fold increase in fish production. From a mere 7.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51, India’s total fish production has reached a record 162.48 lakh tonnes per annum in 2021-22, with a 10.34 per cent growth in fish production in 2021-22 in comparison to 2020-21. Today, India is the 3rd largest fish-producing country with about 8 per cent share in global fish production. It stands 2nd in aquaculture production and one of the top cultured shrimps producing nations in the world, he said while speaking at the occasion of the conclusion of the 5th phase of Sagar Parikrama Yatra in Goa on Friday.
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The minister said that India is blessed with rich and diverse fisheries resources and produces a variety of fish. Fish is an important source of food, nutrition, employment, and income in India. Fish being an affordable and rich source of healthy animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids offers immense potential to mitigate hunger and malnutrition. This promising sector provides livelihood, employment, and entrepreneurship to more than 2.8 crore fishers and fish farmers at the primary level and several lakhs along the value chain, he said.
The growth of inland fish production, predominantly propelled by aquaculture, has been even more spectacular. From mere 28.23 lakh tonnes per annum in 2000-01, the inland fish production stood at 121.21 lakh tonnes per annum in 2021-22, a staggering 400 per cent increase. In fact, the inland fisheries and aquaculture production of the country has almost doubled since 2014. This is due to the significant contribution made by our fisheries scientists, especially of ICAR institutes in the development of various breeding technologies, concerted efforts of the Central and state governments and hardworking fishers, fish farmers and entrepreneurs.
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“Sagar Parikrama” is a journey envisaged in the sea across coastal India demonstrating solidarity with all fisher folk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders as a spirit of the 75th year of India’s independence, saluting great freedom fighters, sailors, and fishers. It is an initiative by the Government of India, aiming to resolve the issues of the fishers and other stakeholders and facilitate their economic upliftment through various fisheries schemes and programmes being implemented by the Government of India such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) and Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).