Centre committed to support traditional fishermen's transition to deep-sea fishing: Murugan

Centre committed to support traditional fishermen's transition to deep-sea fishing: Murugan

Ahmedabad, Nov 22 (PTI) The central government is committed to provide steadfast support to traditional fishermen in their transition to deep-sea fishing, asserted Union minister L Murugan on Wednesday.

This support will be extended through the Centre's schemes, namely the Blue Revolution and the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, said the Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

Murugan was speaking at a technical session on 'Deep-Sea Fishing: Technology, Resources, and Economics' at the 'Global Fisheries Conference India 2023' here.

The two-day fisheries conference at Science City in Ahmedabad was inaugurated by Union Cabinet Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala on Tuesday.

'The government is providing up to 60 per cent financial assistance to traditional fishermen to convert their vessels into deep-sea fishing boats. Additionally, loan facilities are also available to facilitate this transformation,' an official release of the ministry quoted Murugan as saying at the conference.

He emphasised the need for modern fishing vessels equipped with in-built processing facilities to maintain international quality standards for deep-sea resources like tuna.

Acknowledging that traditional fishermen currently lack these capabilities, the junior minister said the government is committed to address this gap.

'Tuna fishes are in high demand worldwide, and India has the potential to increase its tuna fishing capacity. However, we need technological advancements in this area,' he noted.

Murugan called for more start-ups to enter the deep-sea fishing sector and for research to focus on reducing fuel costs and exploring the use of green fuels in fishing boats.

'There is a need for research and design in upgrading fishing vessels to effectively harness the potential of deep-sea fishing in a sustainable way,' the minister maintained.

Deep-sea fishing is undertaken beyond the limit of territorial waters, which is 12 nautical miles from the shore, and within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles from the shore. It involves catching fish that live in the deep parts of the sea.

Highlighting the high value of deep-sea resources, Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries, Government of India, Sanjay Pandey, pointed out that 'Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna', a fish variety, has an end value of more than USD 4 billion.

World Bank Consultant Dr Arthur Neiland said despite the promising potential of yellowfin and skipjack tunas in India's EEZ, with an estimated harvest of 179,000 tonnes, the actual catch is a mere 25,259 tonnes, indicating an utilization rate of only 12 per cent.

He emphasised the need for investment from public and private sectors in deep-sea fishing which could generate economic, social and environmental benefits.

'Utilising India's strong institutional base, with expertise in fisheries science and management, fish processing and infrastructure will also be beneficial for the deep-sea fishing development plans,' Dr Neiland noted. PTI PJT PD RSY

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