Tamil Nadu state has one of the highest resource endowments for fisheries and aquaculture viz., 1076 km coastal length, 56000 ha of potential brackishwater area, many reservoirs and freshwater bodies extending to 3.8 lakh ha. The state produces about 5 lakh metric tons of fish. Fisheries is a high income generating activity, particularly brackishwater aquaculture can provide a net income of Rs. 3 to 5 lakh per ha in a short span of 3 to 4 months. Large numbers of people are provided employment through forward and backward linkages and ancillary support activities like craft and gear making, farm inputs production and supply, processing, marketing and exporting. Realizing the importance of fisheries in the Tamil Nadu government has allotted Rs.743.79 crores, which is one among the highest budget allocation for fisheries sector among different states of India. With all these support doubling of fish farmers and fishers income by March 2022 in Tamil Nadu is a realistic goal. Adoption of newer culture systems like Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), Recirculatory Aquaculture System (RAS) and bio floc and periphyton based farming systems will help to achieve the goal in a shorter time. Public-Private Partnership and use of modern ICT tools like mobile apps will bridge the missing links in extension services.
ICAR-CIBA and Federation of India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with Tamil Nadu Fisheries University, Nagapattinam and Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAI), Chennai jointly organized a “Workshop on Revitalizing Fisheries and Aquaculture in Tamil Nadu – Doubling income by March 2022-“on 30th May 2017 at Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, Chennai. In his inaugural address, Dr K.K.Vijayan, Director, ICAR CIBA Chennai stated that Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector is a ‘Sleeping Giant’ in Indian Economy and its true strength is yet to be fully conceived by the planners and policymakers. This sector provides Food, Employment and Prosperity to the people. The vast area of water resources available in Tamil Nadu provides huge scope for expansion of aquaculture for the production of finfish and shellfish. Mr P. Murari, IAS (Retd) Adviser to FICCI and Former Adviser to President of India emphasized the importance of deep sea fishing and stated that fishermen need to be trained for long term fishing in the sea and suitable technologies and facilities need to be provided for them. He particularly emphasized the potential for the expansion of brackishwater aquaculture in Tamil Nadu on environmentally safe and sustainable model. The workshop had three Parallel Technical Sessions on Marine and Industrial Fishing and Mariculture, Brackishwater and Inland Aquaculture and Inland Capture Fisheries and Development of Domestic Markets, Value Addition and Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses. The major recommendations emerged out of the discussions are as follows:
- Site-specific Mariculture activities in finfishes/shell fishes need to be carried out in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
- Capacity building and skill development programmes in deep sea fishing operations for marine fisher folk should be developed in the context of declining fisheries.
- Formulating strategic measures for promotion of fisheries production through scientific zonation and release of government owned brackishwater lands for aquaculture, modern fish marketing and processing on Public Private Partnership Mode.
- Sustainable efforts on convergence by ICAR-CIBA, FICCI, TNFU, CAA and Department of Fisheries for formulation and implementation of policies for accelerating the fisheries development ensuring double the income to the fish farmers and fishers.
Other dignitaries who have actively participated in the workshop include Mr.Ruban Hobday, Chief FICCI-TN, Dr R. Sudarshan, Assistant Senior Director, FICCI, Chennai, Dr M Sakthivel, Formerly Director MPEDA and Dr.Cheryl Antony, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute (FC &RI), Ponneri. Fishfarmers, fishermen and Members from the Indian Fishermen Association, Staff from Coast Guard and scientists and officials from ICAR CIBA Chennai and FC and RI, Ponneri, The welcome address was given by Dr.T.Ravisankar Scientist in Charge , Institute Technology Management Unit (ITMU) and workshop concluded with vote of thanks by Dr P.K.Patil, of ITMU, CIBA.
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