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World Fisheries Day: Minister urges States to conserve biodiversity

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 22, 2023: ON the occasion of World Fisheries Day, Dept. of Fisheries, GoI is organising two day Global Fisheries Conference India 2023 which began at Gujarat Science City, Ahmedabad, Gujarat yesterday. Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Parshottam Rupala inaugurated the Special Pavilion and main Exhibition of Global Fisheries Conference India 2023 . Minister of States for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Dr. Sanjeev K. Balyan, and Dr. L Murugan, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel, Ministers of various states, Ambassador of various countries, other dignitaries and heads of various organisations and fisheries research institutes were present in the event.

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala released the "State Fishes of India Booklet" to encourage each state in India to adopt a fish and conserve its biodiversity. The booklet contains details of 21 fish species adopted as State Fish and declared as State Aquatic Animal. The other key publication released was "Handbook on Fisheries Statistics year 2022" that aims at providing key data points and performance indicators for the Fisheries sector making accurate and reliable fisheries data available to all.

Further, Union Minister Rupala distributed Group Accident Insurance Scheme (GAIS) claim cheques (Rs 5 lakhs each) to beneficiaries /legal heirs from states of Odisha and Puducherry, Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to eligible beneficiaries with the loan amount of Rs 35 thousand to Rs 3 lakhs for beneficiaries from Gujarat, Green Fuel conversion kit for sustainable development of fisheries sector that included beneficiaries from Kerala and transponders for beneficiaries from Gujarat.

In his address, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala welcomed all the guests and lauded the efforts for getting together diversified national and global experts and stakeholders on one platform on important matters of deliberation terming the event to be historic. He encouraged that the series of state fish declaration by major states of UP, Maharashtra and Gujarat make fish rearing an interesting subject for the general public. He further hoped that new products and innovation for sustainable development continues to enhance.

At the event,  the Inland Reservoir Lease Portal of Government of Gujarat was launched by Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel. The reservoir leasing will now be done on online using the portal through e-tender/ e-auction for transparency in lease allocation procedure with priority given to Fisheries cooperatives, FFPO, SHGs etc. Chief Minister of Gujarat also digitaly launched Black spotted Crocker (commonly known as Ghol) as the State Fish of Gujarat.

Chief Minister of Gujarat in his keynote address welcomed all guests and highlighted that as a leading fish production and exporting state in India, it is a great opportunity for Gujarat to host this mega event. Gujarat is a policy-vision state hence along with the existing progressive programs and initiatives, Blue economy is being prioritised as a key focus area.

MoS Dr. Sanjeev K. Balyan welcomed all the dignitaries and highlighted that the Indian Fisheries sector has expanded from the coastal states to the Northern states and inland fisheries and aquaculture particularly mp aquaculture is getting popular in the Northern states of India. Provisions should thus be made to continue with the momentum through infrastructure support.

MoS Dr. L Murugan congratulated all on occasion of World Fisheries day. He informed that a unique outreach program undertaken by Union Minister Parshottam Rupala covering the 8000 kms coastline of India is progressing towards completion. He highlighted that the achievements of the Fisheries sector are in line with the vision of Prime Minister of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Made in India as Indian products and services are being popularised to achieve self-sufficiency and of best quality.

Mr. Takayuki Hagiwara, Head of Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in India congratulated all on occasion of World Fisheries Day prioritising healthy ecosystem and healthy stocks as a key FAO strategy. He exhibited confidence that India can champion the Blue Transformation initiatives as it has the potential to expand sustainably and FAO gladly extends its support to India in its initiatives for innovative value chain development, reduction of illegal and unregulated fishing etc.

Minister for Agri, AH, Cow-Breeding, Fisheries, RH & RD, Govt. of Gujarat, Raghavjibhai Patel in his special address thanked all the participants for coming and highlighted that the state of Gujarat has been progressive and under Digital India has launched online systems that create transparency and make immediate transfers possible to beneficiaries directly. He envisioned an aqua park in Gujarat in time to come.

Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi welcomed all the guests and informed that the Department of Fisheries, GoI has four focus areas namely improvement of production and productivity, infrastructure development and strengthening market linkages, technology infusion and ease of Doing business as done under the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) Act amendment.

Towards the end, a message by Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat was shared with the audience where he expressed his best wishes on occasion of World Fisheries day and hoped that the conference achieves its objectives of bringing in diverse perspectives.

Joint Secretary for DoF, Sagar Mehra highlighted that the Department of Fisheries organized the event of this scale and magnitude for the first time. He said it is moment of pride for DoF (MoFAH&D, GoI) to host 10 foreign missions from the countries of France, New Zealand, Norway, Australia, Russia, Spain, Zimbabwe, Angola, Brazil and Greece along with International organisations namely Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Bay of Bengal Program (BoBP), Marine Stewardship Council India (MSC), Ministers from the States/UTs of Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himanchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.

The delegation interacted with the exhibitors in the special pavilion that included demonstration of aquariums, Artificial reefs, Seaweed Cultivation, capture fisheries, marine cage culture, biofloc, RAS, fish feed, LPG converter kits, pearl extraction and nucleus implantation, model of Setcom satellite terminals communication system, eco-friendly movable kiosks, mutli-species hatchery etc.

In line with the past years, on occasion of the World Fisheries Day, awards were distributed by the dignitaries. Andhra Pradesh was awarded as the Best Marine State, Uttar Pradesh awarded as the Best Inland State award, Assam as the Best Himalayan region and North Easter State award. Ramanathapuram (Tamil Nadu) was awarded as the Best Marine District, Seoni (Madhya Pradesh), Kamrup (Assam) won the Best Inland District and the Best Himalayan and North Eastern District respectively and Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir) won the Best District in the Union Territories category. Awards for Best Fish Farmers, Best Fisheries Cooperatives and the Best Fisheries Enterprises were also distributed during the function.


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