India: Aquaculture a high priority
The new Indian government will make aquaculture a high priority, especially in inland areas. In his first press conference since taking office, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar spoke of the government’s intention to push for a stronger aquaculture industry.
“The potential of inland fisheries has been exploited by only 50 percent, and we see a great opportunity in the expansion of the sector,” said Pawar.
Since marine areas are nearing capacity, there’s a need to develop fish farms in inland areas, said Pawar.
The ministry is also looking to join forces with a number of Indian agencies, particularly the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). This cooperative venture would look at aquaculture’s technical aspects with a view to promote fish farms in rural, inland areas.
India’s aquaculture production has increased steadily over the years and represented 6.5 million metric tons of seafood in 2007.
Additionally, the Seafood Exporters of India are calling for a separate ministry to handle seafood. Currently, the Agriculture Ministry overseas the seafood industry, but a separate agency would speed up administration and offer greater business opportunities, according to the Seafood Exporters of India.
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