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Fish is the ultimate stakeholder in the fisheries sector: Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala

According to the minister, concerted efforts are underway to harness the potential of this sector through effective management, technological interventions, and infrastructure development.

KJ Staff
Fish is the ultimate stakeholder in the fisheries sector: Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala
Fish is the ultimate stakeholder in the fisheries sector: Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala

Parshottam Rupala, Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, has urged all stakeholders including researchers, government officials, farmers, industry representatives, civil society organizations, and students to unite in the country’s efforts towards increasing production and maintaining sustainability in fisheries and aquaculture sector.

He was speaking at the inaugural address at the 13th Indian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (23-25 February 2024) organized by ICAR - Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CIFRI) in collaboration with the Asian Fisheries Society Indian Branch (AFSIB), Inland Fisheries Society of India (IFSI), and the Professional Fisheries Graduates Forum (PFGF) at Kolkata today.

As part of this forum, he hoped to pave the way for a brighter, more resilient future for Indian fisheries and aquaculture, aligning with sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the vision “Viksit Bharat@2047” of the Prime Minister of India. The minister reminded the gathering that recognizing the importance of this sunrise sector; concerted efforts are underway to harness its potential through effective management, enhancing productivity, technological interventions, infrastructure development, strengthening value chains, and robust governance as prioritized in the Prime Minister's Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).

He expressed satisfaction over India's contribution to global fish production and agricultural GDP of the country, and substantial foreign exchange generation to the tune of Rs. 63,969 crores through exports of fish and related products every year. The Minister made a few key advice such as future research should be based on fishers’ needs; there should be an apex forum for scientific communities; technologies to reduce post-harvest losses; smart and digital marketing with catchy slogans; utilization of “Amrit Sarovar” for fish culture; establishing Matsya Vikas Kendras (MVKs) in the country.

He expected this conference would provide a platform for all the stakeholders to exchange their ideas for fostering Indian fisheries and aquaculture towards sustainable development goals for enhancing fish production and farmers’ income. Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary Dept. of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General (DG), ICAR, earlier in his address emphasized that towards “Viksit Bharat” from “Vikassheel Bharat”, fisheries and aquaculture sector from its fast and sustainable growth rate of 10% will play a major role.

He also stressed on nature-friendly, climate-resilient, and profit-making fisheries sector with the introduction of genetically improved species, smart and precise practices, proper regulatory mechanisms, and skill development.

Dr. Joykrushna Jena, Deputy Director General (Fishery Science), ICAR, elaborates on pollution-free, sustainable, and profitable fisheries, their unrealized potential, and future opportunities for contribution national economy. He urged upon judicious and amicable sharing of resources among the sectors in agriculture for higher production with a pragmatic roadmap for the Amritkaal.

Dr. Basanta Kumar Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI and the convener of the conference earlier in his remark outlined the total of the three days' vast programs and informed the house that besides the scientific discussions on progress made and plans, the conference will also include special lectures, industry, and fisheries officials and farmers’ conclaves, satellite symposia, student corner and technology exhibition to discuss on issues like climate change, natural farming, gender equality, women empowerment, social upliftment, employment opportunities for the youth in the fisheries sector.

On this occasion, various awards of national importance such as Prof. HPC Shetty Award, Professors T. J. Pandian & A. J. Matty Award, Dr. TVR Pillai Award, Dr. M. C. Nandeesha Award, Shri J.V.H. Dixitulu National Award, IFSI fellows and AFSIB Young Scientist Awards and awards to industrial partners were presented by the Minister. The contributions of the award-winning scientists in their respective fields will certainly motivate young minds and set new standards for them to follow in the future to do more for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

Furthermore, two products developed by ICAR- CIFRI (Cifri-AlgaS+ & CFRI Aqua Promo) and various publications (Souvenir of 13" IFAF, Book of Abstract 13th IFAF, River Ranching Guidelines, Inland Fisheries Development in Mayurbhanj, the book of success stories: Wetland of Bihar, Catalogue of Genus Mystus in India, Open Water Fisheries Development in Northeast India) were released by the Hon’ble minister. Awards to two industry partners, MR Aquatic, Bhuvneshwar & Glaucus Agrochem Pvt. Ltd, Kolkata was also presented.

About 1500 delegates from India and abroad including a galaxy of scientists, entrepreneurs including women entrepreneurs, fishers and fish farmers, scholars, government officials, industrialists, and students attended the program.

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