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The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi hosted a high-level national workshop on ‘Harnessing the Potential of Fisheries in Marine States’ on 5th January 2024. The workshop was organised by the NITI Aayog, in association with ICAR-CMFRI and the Department of Fisheries, Government of Kerala.Shri Suman Bery, Hon’ble Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog inaugurated the workshop.  He underscored the importance of frontier technologies like artificial intelligence in tackling the challenges in the marine fisheries sector.  He stressed the importance of understanding the dynamics of demand for prioritizing production strategies.

The workshop was organised to discuss relevant issues in the sector and evolve strategies for optimal utilization of the highly prospective marine resources. Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ramesh Chand, Hon’ble Member of NITI Aayog said the growth of demand for fish doubled in the past decade ending 2022, compared to the previous decade ending 2012. Fisheries has a promising export share in agriculture and food commodities, he said. On measures to boost seafood export, Prof. Ramesh Chand proposed enhancing value addition and cutting-edge processing innovations in the sector. Dr J K Jena, Deputy Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) pitched for exploring untapped potential of oceanic and deep-sea resources. Citing the estimated harvestable potential of oceanic and deep-sea resources, he said that deep sea fishing would offer a potential new frontier for commercial fisheries. Dr Jena emphasised the importance of ensuring quality and enhancing the skilled capacity to utilize the prospects of deep-sea fishing.

Some of the major proposals are as follow:

  • Streamlining of open sea maricultural, emphasizing the need for sustainability and equity to receive adequate focus in determining different ownership and operatorship formats for scaling-up maricultural activities;
  • Implementation of AI-mediated automated mechanisms for landing estimation, tracking of fishing vessels through Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS), and analytics of sub-stock-level information;
  • Focused research and exploration projects are required to assess and characterize deep-sea and non-conventional fishery resources;
  • Establishing an institutional mechanism for overseeing deep-sea fishing was also recommended, with a clear emphasis on economic viability and adherence to national and state-specific policy guidelines;
  • Estimating the potential and exploring the possibility of utilizing mesopelagic resources as source for fish meal;
  • Strengthening of accident insurance, fishing vessel insurance, and coastal immovable asset insurance is required through technological and policy interventions;
  • Greater attention needs to be given to island ecosystems and planned expansion of the fishery and value chain development, along with management of the live bait fishery of Lakshadweep; and
  • Ongoing artificial reef installation programmes in coastal waters should be intensified with mechanisms for continuous impact assessment monitoring and improvisation.

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