‘Stringent import policy in potential global markets calls for implementation of norms in toto’
With the United States and the European Union adopting zero tolerance policies towards antibiotic residues in the cultured shrimps, the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), along with other agencies, has decided to launch a massive awareness campaign for aquaculture farmers.
“As part of the Blue Revolution aiming at improving the fish exports from the country, we are keen not only on stringent implementation of the norms to stop the overdose of antibiotics, but also educating all the stakeholders on the risk of getting blacklisted for exporting consignments with high incidence of antibiotic substances,” NFDB Executive Director (Technical) Bimal Kinkar Chand told The Hindu.
The main concern of aqua farmers from Andhra Pradesh, the largest exporter of Vannamei (white-leg shrimp), an exotic species grown in the coastal areas of the State, is the emergence of new business rivals from Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Equator in the global market.
The NFDB has identified tuna as a highly potential species for exports. “We want to encourage traditional fishermen from buying tuna long-liners by forming into small groups,” Mr. Chand said.
Due to dwindling number of resources mainly on account of juvenile fishing and shoreline fishing, encouraging deep-sea fishing is on top of the agenda of NFDB by offering 40% to 60% subsidy.
Hygienic handling, on-board processing and refrigeration and other facilities will be promoted as part of the strategy adopted by Marine Product Exports Development Authority (MPEDA). Sustainable fishing through innovative technologies has been identified as a focus area by the Union Ministry of Agriculture under which fisheries sector is being regulated.
Technology & innovation
At present, the country has its aquaculture products pegged at 7.5 million tonne of the total fish production of 11 million tonne.
“Our target is to increase the yield to 15 million tonne by 2021 through use of technology, innovation and an enabling environment.
“Many aquacultuere farmers have already diversified into deep-sea fishing. If support is extended to us through subsidy, many are willing to go for tuna long-liners,” said A.P. Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president P. Ch. Appa Rao.