Hyderabad, Jun 17 : Ms Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Government of India, said that there was a huge potential for harnessing tuna and tuna like species in the Indian EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).
In her inaugural address at the 23rd session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held here on Monday, Ms Sibal said that the Indian EEZ spread in the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands comprises 30 per cent but there was only 1 per cent of the production of tuna fish.
Emphasising the need for regional cooperation between IOTC member countries, Ms Sibal said that there is need for responsible and sustainable management of tuna. IOTC has to ensure that there is a level playing field between the developed and the developing nations, she said.
The Union Fisheries Secretary further said that India is the second largest fish producing country, India contributes 6.3 percent of the global fish production. There is a great potential for growth in the fisheries sector which is at present 7 percent, sustaining 14.5 million fishermen.
Ms Sibal said fisheries is a sun rise sector in India, considering the commercially viable global tuna market, which stood at USD 11.38 billion in 2017, and projected to reach USD 13.75 billion by 2023 and added it is imperative that we enhance productivity, maintain quality control and improve infrastructure.
As the shelf life of tuna is very short, it is very important to develop cold chains and ensure the catch is marketed at the earliest, she added.
She said that in the present IOTC session, quotas of tuna to be caught in the economic zones of the member countries would be fixed.
The Government of India has created a separate Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in February 2019. India plans to develop its capacity in deep sea fishing and play a pivotal role in IOTC towards conservation management, and sustainable harnessing of tuna and tuna like species, which are becoming endangered, she said. (UNI)