He said that the seafood industry needs renewed impetus to make its stupendous growth sustainable, gain competitive edge in international markets, provide nutritional security and generate employment, especially in rural areas.
In his address at the fifth edition of Aqua Aquaria India (AAI), a biennial showpiece event in Asia’s marine products sector organized by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Naidu said: “Most of the Asian countries are focusing on advanced technology for increasing fish production and productivity. In China and Israel, production of marine products is 10 to 15 metric tonnes per hectare. India also needs to substantially increase its production for exports and domestic requirements.”
Around 5,000 delegates from India and abroad are participating in the three-day mega event being held with the focal theme being ‘Taking blue revolution to India’s hinterland’.
Describing aquaculture as the “best alternative for reinforcing the fish sector”, the Vice President said there is immense scope for both horizontal and vertical expansion and importance has to be given to environment-friendly aquaculture in rural areas. Besides, branding and export-oriented aquaculture practices have to be adopted.
“Sustainability and productivity have to be the twin mantra for India’s aquaculture sector,” he said, adding that the country holds immense potential in developing inland aquaculture that can significantly boost exports.
He underlined the need to increase investments in the fields of aquaculture, especially in shrimp farming. “India is the fourth largest exporter of fish and the fisheries sector gives employment to more than 40.5 million people. Of the five per cent GDP contributed by the agriculture sector, one per cent came from the fisheries. But it has to be increased substantially,” he said.
Telangana’s Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Talasani Srinivas Yadav said that the state government was giving priority to the fisheries sector by allocating sops to the farmers in the form of 100 per cent grant and 80 per cent subsidy for Integrated Fisheries Development Programme.
Andhra Pradesh Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana also spoke.
The Vice President also presented awards to 10 aquaculture farmers who made remarkable success in the field. The awardees included Hormis Tharakan, former DGP of Kerala and ex-chief of RAW, for successfully cultivating Black Tiger shrimp using the high health disease free seed from the multispecies aquaculture complex of MPEDA.
MPEDA Chairman K.S. Srinivas said that AAI 2019 provides a unique opportunity to experience the latest technological interventions in aquaculture and aquarium sector.
He noted that during 2018-19, India exported 14,37,445 tonnes of seafood worth $6.8 billion. The United States is the major market followed by the European Union, Southeast Asia, China and Japan.
The coastal shrimp aquaculture production has risen from 76,000 tonnes a decade ago to 6,83,472 to tonnes during 2018-19. he targeted production of shrimp from acquaculture is 11,00,000 tonnes by 2021-22.