Finally, the Government has decided to establish a new fishing harbour near new Mangalore Port, which was pending for the last 10 years.
Responding to a Deccan Herald poser, Union Minister of Shipping G K Vasan said the Union Government will provide 75 per cent assistance through Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, while the remaining project cost will be funded primarily by New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) and partially by the State government, if feasible.
Stating that new ports will have to be set up across the Indian coastline, Vasan informed that he has already written to the Chief Ministers of all the maritime states to explore possibilities of setting up new ports with fishing harbours nearby. Further, the Shipping Ministry has approved establishment of two new ports -– one on the Sagar island of West Bengal and another in Andhra Pradesh.
It may be noted that the ‘fisheries and aquacultures’ is now recognised as the sunshine sector in the country as it stimulates growth of number of subsidiary industries and is the source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population, especially fishermen, of the country.
So, Vasan explained, the Shipping Ministry decided to delegate powers of registration, survey and certification of all fishing vessels from Directorate General of Shipping at the Centre to State government authorities. Further, he made it clear that the State Fisheries Department should function as a nodal agency for all fishing related issues, including management of fishing harbours.
Specific to fishing prospects in Mangalore, it could be said that fishing due to its lucrative nature now has assumed more of a business form than a profession in Mangalore. Currently, it has over 1,000 mechanised multi-day fishing vessels, with about one third of them being owned by businessmen, who are not in this profession.
From a macro perspective, fishing in India contributes over 1 per cent of India's annual gross domestic product (GDP) from 2008 onwards. Fishing in India employs about 14.5 million people. The country's rich marine and inland water resources, fisheries and aquaculture offer an attractive and promising sector for employment, livelihood, and food security. Fish products from India are well received by almost half of world's countries, creating export-driven employment opportunities in India and greater food security for the world. During the past decades, the Indian fisheries and aquaculture has witnessed improvements in craft, tackle and farming methods.
Further, to harvest the economic benefits from fishing, India is adopting exclusive economic zone, stretching 200 nautical miles (370 km) into the Indian Ocean, encompasses more than 2 million square kilometers. In the mid-1980s, only about 33 percent of that area was being exploited.
The potential annual catch from the area has been estimated at 4.5 million tons. In addition to this marine zone, India has about 14,000 square km of brackish water available for aquaculture, of which only 600 sq km were being farmed in the early 1990s; about 16,000 sq km of freshwater lakes, ponds, and swamps; and nearly 64,000 kilometers of rivers and streams.
Indian fish industry growth -- from 1990 through 2010 -- has accelerated, reaching a total marine and freshwater fish production to about 8 million metric tons. Special efforts have been made to promote extensive and intensive inland fish farming, modernize coastal fisheries, and encourage deep-sea fishing through joint ventures.
So much so, observers maintain that fish production in India has grown at a higher rate than food grains, milk, eggs and other food items.