Lessons From Fisheries Development In Maharashtra
Maharashtra has 720 km. of coastline with the continental shelf area of 111512 sq. km. There are as many as 32 inland varieties of fish produced in this state. Among these varieties, shrimps, prawns, harpodon neherias, ribbon fish, otalithes, pomfrets, anchoviella, mackeral and cattle fish put together account for over 70 per cent share in total inland fish production of Maharashtra. Brihan Mumbai and Thane are the only two major regions of the state accounting for bulk of the total inland fish production. Though Maharashtra accounts for a significant share in total marine fish production of India, her share in total fish production of India has declined over the past two decades mainly due to a sharp decline in her share in total marine fish production of India. The major problem faced by the marine fisheries of Maharashtra is relating to depletion of resources due to illegal presence of foreign vessels and vessels belonging to other states, which appeared to have created pressure on the coast line. As a result, the marine fish production of Maharashtra has grown at very low pace during the last two decades. In order to tackle this problem, there is need for the Government of India to introduce zonalisation of coast line in the National Fishing Policy. This will certainly help in checking the depletion of marine resources. In fact, the present fishing fleet of the state is not capable of exploiting the deep sea resources. It is to be further noted that there has been decline in inland water spread area and numerical strength of fish curing yards in the state. The number of fishery schools in the state has also stagnated over the last two decades. These are certainly disturbing features of the fisheries sector of Maharashtra. Although in order to develop fisheries sector, the department of fisheries in the state is conducting various training programme relating to carp fish seed production, fresh water prawn culture, integrated fish farming and management of aquarium, etc., there is also need to educate fishermen with respect to dissemination of information relating to modern fishing techniques and efficient marketing of fish catch. Equally important is the need for more innovative technologies in this sector, diffusion of developed technology by extension workers and adoption by the clients. Education of fishermen about modern fishing techniques has significant impact on adoption of recommended fish culture practices by the farmers. Further, extension and mass media participation have strong positive relationship with adoption of fish culture practices. Nonetheless, inadequate infrastructure and flow of information technology are the major barriers for better market integration in the existing marine fish markets of India.
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