The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India celebrated the ‘World Fisheries Day’ on 21st November at NASC Complex, Pusa, New Delhi. The Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, Minister for Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Uttar Pradesh also graced the occasion and received the award on behalf of the State of Uttar Pradesh, awarded as best performing State in inland fisheries sector. The fishers, fish farmers, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, professionals, officials and Scientist from across the nation also participated in the grand event.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister of State, Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that World Fisheries Day is our way of thinking globally and acting locally as we reach out to our fisher communities through local events. He said that through this event we send a message to our fishers, to our nation and to the world that fisheries is an important sector that contributes immensely to the socio-economic growth of the country. Sarangi said that this sector is responsible for providing nutritional security, livelihood support and employment to millions of Indians. It is estimated that the world’s population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. With the increase in the population, the demand for nutritional security also goes on parallel lines. The agriculture and the allied sectors have to contribute the food demand and supply will play an important role combined with other food sectors to meet the nutritional demands of the growing population.
The Minister of State further said that the marine capture fisheries of our country has become stagnant and there is a paradigm shift from capture to culture based fisheries. Aquaculture activities have to be taken up in India as the alternative way of meeting the growing demand of nutritional security. Sarangi also said that Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada at a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores intends to address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that the Fisheries sector is extremely diverse and quite dynamic. There is a need to streamline policies and programs to take R&D benefits to the farmers and fishers for orderly and sustainable utilisation of all potential resources with focus on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental footprint. We need to diligently explore the resources available in the country such as waterlogged area, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, canals, ponds, tanks, floodplains, backwaters, lagoons, low saline inland areas for increasing the fish production.
Lastly, he appealed to all the dignitaries present at the occasion to provide as much support as possible for the development of this sector, to increase fish production and in turn improving the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen and other people associated in this sector. Let us celebrate this ‘World Fisheries Day’ to highlight and protect the life and livelihoods of fishing communities, sustainable fish stocks and healthy ecosystems in India.
During the event, for the first time in Fisheries Sector, the Government of India awarded best performing States for 2019-20 namely, Odisha (amongst Marine states), Uttar Pradesh (amongst Inland states) and Assam (amongst Hilly and NE states). The Govt. also awarded best Organisations for 2019-20 [Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd. (for Marine); Telangana State Fishermen Cooperative societies Federation Ltd (for Inland), and Assam Apex Cooperative Fish Marketing and Processing Federation Ltd. (for Hilly region)]; Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh as best Marine District; Kalahandi, Odisha as best Inland District; Nagaon, Assam as Best Hilly and NE District. Besides, it also felicitated the best Fisheries Enterprise; best performing Fisheries Cooperative Societies/FFPOs/SSG and best Individual entrepreneurs; best Marine and Inland Fish Farmer; and best Finfish and Shrimp hatcheries as well, in recognition to their accomplishments in the field and their contribution into the growth of the sector. Prizes were distributed to all the awardees and several publications were also released during the event.