Union Fisheries Secretary Jatindra Nath Swain says seaweed cultivation will help boost India’s economy and reduce impact of climate crisis as well
Kochi: The Central government is looking forward to developing a sustainable economy through highly prospective seaweed cultivation, Jatindra Nath Swain, Fisheries Secretary to the government of India has said. At a time when climate change is increasingly posing a major threat to human life across the globe, cultivating seaweed, which is one of the natural methods to mitigate the global crisis, would help boost the economy and reduce the impact of climate crisis as well, he said.
He was speaking at an interactive meeting with scientists of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) held at its Headquarters in Kochi. “An additional livelihood option, seaweed farming will play a major role in the socio-economic upliftment of traditional fishermen during this difficult time”, the secretary said.
He asked the CMFRI to set up a seedbank of seaweeds to popularise the practice among the coastal region. “Marine scientists should come up with ways for capacity development to enhance seaweed cultivation on large-scale”, Jatindra Nath Swain said, adding that the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) has a special thrust for promotion of the seaweed farming. He was on a visit to Kerala to understand the issues and challenges being faced by the sector after taking over the portfolio four months ago. Apart from those in the Kochi headquarters, CMFRI scientists from various regional research stations across the country also attended the meeting.
Doubling seafood export
Elaborating on the country’s ambitious plan in the marine fisheries sector, the Fisheries secretary said that India is eying doubling the seafood export in the next five years. “We are hopeful of achieving this target by exploring innovative ways to increase the production that will certainly upscale the country’s per capita income”, he said. Technological development is crucial in this regard especially for areas such as seed production and other hatchery infrastructure for diversified mariculture activities, he said.
Emphasising the need to promote better livelihood options to support traditional fishermen, he said that strengthening of aquaculture and marine fisheries by utilising the technological advancements would help them fetch good income and improve their living standard.
“The government is in supportive of promoting the cage fish farming, which is also an alternative source of income, in a big way that would help the traditional fishermen to double their income”, Mr Swain said and lauded the efforts of CMFRI to give a major boost to this practice across the coastal states.
Sea ranching initiatives, a practice of stocking seeds into the sea, of green tiger shrimps should be strengthened by extending it into more areas as the practice by CMFRI proving a huge success in the Palk Bay for the past few years for maintaining a sustainable stock of the species and their conservation, the top fisheries official said.
Flagging his concern on resource depletion and ecosystem degradation, he urged scientists to focus on ways to promote responsible fishing and to adopt appropriate mechanisms to improve sustainable fishing.
He was accompanied by Dr Jujjavarapu Balaji, Joint Secretary (Marine Fisheries), government of Inda. Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI apprised them of various research activities being pursued and achievements of the CMFRI.