Even though numerous initiatives have been tried out by various governments in increasing productivity and accessing different food sources in agriculture, the fisheries segment, with its great strengths, has been kept aside. But there is a new impetus for this sector with the PMMSY plan in fisheries involving capital expenditure of around Rs 20,000 crores over the next five years starting from Sept 2021.
This plan set to come under India’s Blue Revolution, has promising schemes to unlock the untapped potential of Aquaculture by revamping the industry with the latest technologies to increase production and revenue.
It is estimated that the productivity increase will boost exports and profits will triple by 2022 with the private sector’s entry. This will trickle down to increased incomes for the families of fishermen involved in these operations. The fisheries sector has seen a rapid growth from 2018-19 when the Blue Revolution was launched officially. The PMMSY has as its target major goals like increase in earnings of fisherfolk, increasing fish production to 2.2 crore tons annually in 5 years, halving the loss in fish production, new jobs for 55 lakh people and increasing fish exports to Rs 1 lakh crores.
This plan envisages upgradation of the fisheries area without harming the environment by revamping fishing boats and fish rearing, building bio-toilets and aqua parks ,encouraging new firms in aquaculture, developing fishing villages and creating new jobs through growing seaweed and ornamental fishes. Suitable changes are planned to improve the quality of hatch and bring in more variety in seed, feed and fish species.
The plan will also focus on aquaculture in new areas where water is saline/alkaline, development of incubators, building aquatic laboratories, helping in certification, online trading/marketing of fish, better fisheries management amongst a host of activities to boost the fisheries sector. Research and development in Aquaculture and Marine Biotechnology is planned in a big way by involving private firms to unleash the massive potential in this sector. 2755 bio-toilets are being built along with revamping of 122 fishing boats operating in deep waters.
To ensure the economic improvement of those working in this sector, credit facilities to fishermen have been considerably upgraded and business schemes totaling 3,000 crores from 34 states/union territories have been approved helping 8 lakh people who are involved.
Overall, this PMSSY plan has built a good foundation that is likely to improve the global share of Indian aquaculture and considerably burgeon the earnings of fishermen. Things are looking bright for great improvements in production in this sector within a short time because of the planning and massive groundwork done.