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Working towards a new Blue Revolution

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July 18, 2019

What is the issue?

  • India has the potential to become the world’s largest seafood producer.
  • This could be achieved by rethinking the existing Blue revolution.

What are some government’s initiatives?

  • The Government has constituted an independent Ministry for Fisheries.
  • The Budget 2019 has reiterated the Centre’s commitment to usher in a new Blue Revolution by strengthening the fisheries sector.

What is India’s position?

  • India currently ranks second in the world in aquaculture production at 4.7 million tonnes per annum, while China is way ahead at 60 million tonnes p.a.
  • India’s aquaculture sector has the potential to upstage China.
  • In the process, it could create greater employment opportunities, increase the volume of exports, strengthen the rural economy and contribute substantially to the country’s GDP.

What could be the strategy for its 2030 Master Plan?

  • The key strategy should lay special thrust on,
    1. Increasing productivity in inland fisheries and
    2. Full utilisation of India’s deep-sea fishing potential.
  • China has a coastal line that is twice of India and has larger areas of inland water resources and reservoirs.
  • But India has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) areas of over 2 million sq.km. compared to China’s 0.88 million sq.km.
  • So, the development of EEZ calls for new systems and large-scale deployment of offshore aquaculture activities of high value species.
  • Ocean ranching is one area which will yield rich social dividends, without damaging the ecosystem.
  • India needs a single uniform national data on marine fisheries because it will help in efficient planning for the future.

How to leverage tech for blue revolution?

  • A few dedicated satellites for the management of fisheries could be used.
  • India should bring in 5G technology to its offshore aquaculture activities to increase output and promote tourism.
  • Stringent laws ensuring habitat protection should be part of the plan.
  • There is a need for dynamic policy shift in inland fisheries field.
  • For better utilisation of our resources (coastal, brackish and inland), we need to create brood-stock banks for the diversification of cultivable species.
  • Innovative aquaculture practices (Biosecurity, aqua-mimicry, etc) can be put into use to achieve higher yields at reduced cost.
  • Farm upgradation and automation can be done using AI/IOT, instrumentation, sensors and other cyber-physical systems of production.
  • India should look at the cultivation of macro and microalgae since it requires limited space, grows faster than the terrestrial plants and also results in a comparatively higher yield.
  • While marketing the product, we need to concentrate on factors like processing and value addition.

What is the role of logistics?

  • A robust logistics support requires complementary infrastructural facilities (cold chain and storage facilities) to handle peak harvests.
  • Marketing infrastructure and cloud-based market intelligence should also be put in place.
  • India should also concentrate on providing a quality certification based on globally accepted good management practices.
  • The twin elements of sustainability and traceability both for the marine and inland sectors, should be ensured.

What should India do before unveiling its 2030 Master Plan?

  • India should sync the thought processes of various stakeholders including the Central ministries and State governments, under the close monitoring of the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Efforts should be made to integrate aquaculture and agriculture to boost farmers’ income.
  • All the above-mentioned aims need long-term investments - in research and development and technology upgradation.


Source: Business Line

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