National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) was set up in September, 2006, with its head quarter at Hyderabad to realize the untapped potential of fisheries sector in inland and marine fish capture, culture, processing & marketing of fish, and over all growth of fisheries sector with the application of modern tools of research & development including biotechnology for optimizing production and productivity form fisheries.
The activities of the Board are focused towards increasing the fish production of the country to a level of 10.3 million tones, to double the exports from ` 7,000 crore to `14,000 crore and provide employment 3.5 million persons by extending assistance to various agencies for implementation of activities under inland, brackish water and marine sectors. It will propagate a platform for public-private partnership for fisheries.
The NFDB has taken up fisheries development activities all over the country in the following sectors:
- Reservoir fisheries development
- Intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks
- Modernization of harbours
- Hygienic development of whole sale and retail markets
- Training to fishermen/fish farmers and
- Capacity building of the fishery professionals
Reservoirs being a major under developed aquatic resource of the country support was extended to the tune of ` 60 crores to develop a total water spread area of 10.8 lakh hectares in --states. On an average, the fish productivity from reservoirs is about 20kg/ha prior to NFDB’s intervention. Based on initial trial catches, some states have indicated the productivity enhancement upto 70kgs/hectare.
In order to promote intensive aquaculture and to enhance the present level of fish production an area of 6513 ha is developed with a subsidy if ` 39.00 crores. Enhancement of fish seed production capacities of various states is important to meet the objective enhanced fish production. In this regard the Board funded ` 4.0 crores to various states for construction/ renovation of hatcheries and nurseries. Adoption of pen and cage culture has been popularized with a view to enhance the quality of seed produced.
With a view to enhance fish production from the brackish water and the coastal waters, pilot projects for culture of high valued fish species such as sea bass and lobsters has been taken up in collaboration with ICAR institutes. Establishment of an Aqua Quarentine Facility in Chennai, is an important initiative which is critical for introduction of Vannami as a new shrimp variety in India. All these activities are expected to yield an additional fish production of about 5 lakh tons per annum.
Domestic marketing is given importance by sanctioning funds for modernization of 15 whole sale markets and 25 retail markets by NFDB. To popularize consumption of fish and fishery technologies, 8 fish melas and fish festivals have been organized in the country. Similarly, priority is given to modernization of harbours and landing centers keeping in view the hygiene and quality management of fish. So far 13 harbours have been short listed for development and funding support is extended for 4 harbours.
Human resource development has been taken up with a two pronged approach. To train the officers of Department of Fisheries to enhance their capacitates regarding latest aquaculture and outreach technologies, financial management, post harvest processing etc by engaging various national institutes and fisheries college in the country were engaged. About 900 officers have been trained so far. In addition the fish farmers and fishermen have been trained on various fisheries management and aquaculture activities. In all about 94000 people have been trained by NFDB so far.
All these development activities have been able to generate employment to 6.8 lakh people directly and indirectly.
Therefore, in the present policy the Government seeks to bring the traditional and coastal fishermen also in to the focus together with stakeholders in the deep-sea sector so as to achieve harmonized development of marine fishery both in the territorial and extra territorial waters of our country. The theme of comprehensive marine fishing policy is enshrined in the National Agriculture Policy promulgated by this Government. It is significant that the new policy is being pronounced during the initial years of the X Five Year Plan, the elements therein may be gainfully used by the implementing Departments in the Central and State Governments to reach the benefits to the stake holders.
The policy objectives are (1) to augment marine fish production of the country up to the sustainable level in a responsible manner so as to boost export of sea food from the country and also to increase per capita fish protein intake of the masses, (2) to ensure socio-economic security of the artisanal fishermen whose livelihood solely depends on this vocation. (3) to ensure sustainable development of marine fisheries with due concern for ecological integrity and bio-diversity.