The blue revolution in India

There are opportunities in the Marine Sector in India. It’s a growing industry, and there are opportunities within capture fisheries, aquaculture, fish genetics and biotechnology, harvest and post harvest, fishery engineering and education.

Women in Lake Pulicat building crab fattening cages. Photo: Dr. B. Shanthi

Women in Lake Pulicat building crab fattening cages. Photo: Dr. B. Shanthi

The ‘fisheries and aquaculture sector‘ is recognized as the sunshine sector in Indian agriculture. 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. It helps in increasing food supply, generating adequate employment opportunities and raising nutritional level. It has a huge export potential and is a big source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.

The ‘Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries‘ is the main authority for development of fisheries’ industry in India. It has been undertaking, directly and through the State Governments and the administrations of the Union Territories, various production, input supply and infrastructure development programs and welfare-oriented schemes; besides formulating and initiating appropriate policies to increase production and productivity in the fishery sector. Further, the ‘Ministry of Food Processing Industries’ is another main agency responsible for sound growth of fish processing segment in India.

Growing industry

However, fishery is basically a State subject and the primary responsibility for its development mainly rests with the State Governments. The major thrust in fisheries development has been focused on optimizing production and productivity; augmenting export of fishery products; generating employment and improving welfare of fishermen and their socio-economic status.

Over the years, fisheries’ industry is emerging and rapidly growing. This covers both capture and culture including inland and sea, aquaculture, gears, navigation, oceanography, aquarium management, breeding, processing, export and import of seafood, special products and by-products, research and related activities. There exists several investment opportunities in the sector for the entrepreneurs world over.


Boy with a milkfish in India. Credit: Arun Padiyar, 2011/CC BY

Great potential

But, there are several challenges and issues facing the fisheries development in the country, such as, accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production; development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture; yield optimization; harvest and post-harvest operations; landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and welfare of fishermen; etc.

Thus, there is greater need to transform the sector by taking into account its achievements and capabilities. The strong and sustaining ecological resource base, rational and pre-emptive policy, public and private investments, good governance, etc holds the key for sustainable growth of the sector.

The fuller utilization of its potential can be achieved through infrastructure, investments, technology intensification, diversification and value addition. In a nutshell, various issues related to fishing activities in India need to be addressed in a time bound manner with mutual understanding and cooperation between public and private sectors.

Thrust Areas (Priority wise)

Capture Fisheries (Marine & Inland)

  • Species-wise biological database of commercially exploited marine fish stock and estimate of existing fish yield.
  • Meeting the challanges of responsible fisheries.
  • Computer based models for fishery management in open waters.
  • Developing marine and estuarine biodiversity database, formulating conservation and management action plan on GIS platform
  • Using remote sensing technology, mapping potential inland fishery resources in the country incorporating information on production, dominant catch trends, species composition and ecological status.
  • Impact of river linking on fish stocks, aquatic biodiversity and estimating environmental flows in river systems to sustain ecosystem properties and production.
  • Generating long term data base on ecosystem ecology, responses of fish behaviour including physiology to climate extreme changes in inland and marine environments.
  • Develop climate change action plan ensuring to minimize negative impacts and exploit new opportunities.
  • Environmental impact assessment and bioremediation of stressed aquatic ecosystems
  • Assessment and action plan for hill fishery resource management.
  • Pilot-scale testing of appropriate management models for improving fisheries in reservoirs, lakes and floodplain wetlands.
  • Addressing the issues related to safety at sea for fishers both in terms of policy and support.

Aquaculture: (Freshwater, Brackishwater, Mariculture & Coldwater)

  • Developing sustainable technologies for mariculture, open sea culture.
  • Diversification in aquaculture by bringing more potential fin/ shellfish species and varied culture systems in fresh and brackishwater farming.
  • Breeding and culture of high value fin-fish and shell-fishes.
  • Organic aqua-farming
  • Fish health management, immuno-prophylaxis and therapeutic against common diseases.
  • Ornamental fish breeding and farming
  • Up-scaling of breeding and culture technologies for potential coldwater fish species.
  • Technology development for aquaculture inland saline water areas.
  • Up-scaling pen and cage culture technology in reservoirs and wetlands.
  • Fish nutrition, feed development and technology for live feed organisms.
  • Water budgeting in inland aquaculture
  • Development of water re-circulating units for different aquaculture systems.
  • Genetic improvement in existing finfish and shellfish species for growth and disease resistance.

Fish Genetics & Biotechnology:

  • Cataloguing fish germplasm resources for developing biodiversity repository.
  • Developing technologies for post-mortem sperm preservation and genome conservation.
  • Exotics and quarantine, import risk analysis and disease diagnostics
  • Genotyping of fish and shellfishes and allied taxonomic groups across different ecosystems.
  • Genetic cataloguing of microbes
  • Cytogenetics and genotoxicity studies in fish and shellfish.
  • Developing standards and certification norms for primary fish produce and products.

Harvest & Post- harvest:

  • Design of new generation (fuel efficient) fishing vessels and gears.
  • Eco-friendly and responsible fishing techniques for EEZ.
  • Energy conservation in fish harvesting, processing and transportation.
  • Technologies for utilization of fish by-catch
  • Develop eco-friendly fishing techniques for harnessing sustainable fishery from the rivers and reservoirs.
  • Processing, value addition, packaging and marketing of fishery products.
  • Minimize post-harvest losses and effective utilization of fishing waste.
  • Extraction of Bioactive substances of pharmacological importance.
  • Protocols for sanitation, hygiene and quality control
  • Quality management and food security

Fishery Engineering:

  • Development of on board and on shore equipment for fishing and fish processing.
  • Bioinformatics and IT based solutions to fisheries harvest and post-harvest issues.
  • Development of techniques to control seepage in ponds for aquaculture.
  • Develop techniques for fish farm construction in porous and loose soils.

Fishery Education:

  • Human Resource Development in emerging areas of fishery, aquaculture, harvest-post harvest, processing, aquaculture engineering, aquatic environment and agri-business management.
  • Documenting entire information on fisheries and aquaculture in the country for providing inputs to policy and governance.

Future Outlook :

  • Impact of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture
  • Development of designs of new-generation, fuel efficient, multi-purpose fishing vessels
  • Development of innovative gears like large mesh size purse seine to exploite deeper water fishes.
  • Monitoring of health of inland and coastal aquatic ecosystems.
  • Development of technology for bio-remediation process of degraded aquatic resources.
  • Water budgeting in inland aquaculture
  • Seed production, grow out technology for ornamental fishes
  • Species diversification in inland and brackishwater aquaculture
  • Low cost –low input shrimp farming technology based on organic farming principles .
  • Modified zero water exchange technology for fish and shrimp farming
  • Open sea mariculture for fish and shellfish
  • Affordable ready to eat fish products
  • Improved processing technologies for fishery products and by-products of international standards.
  • Development of bioactive and pharmaceutically important products from aquatic resources.
  • Reduction in loss of fish during harvest and post harvest period.
  • Fishery waste utilization.
  • Evolving techniques to ensure seafood safety

For more info, contact:

Arti Bhatia Kumar
Market Advisor, Innovation Norway in New Delhi

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