Kochi: Kerala must host an international summit on fishing for the crucial sector to make a steady development in the coastal state, according to Suresh Prabhu, Union Commerce and Industry Minister. The Centre will provide all the support for such a summit that can feature experts from countries like Korea and Japan that are major consumers of India’s marine food, he said after inaugurating a pioneering multispecies aquaculture complex built by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) at Vallarpadom Island here the other day. The Rs. 7.26-crore state-of-the-art facility situated on 9 acres of land facilitates production of marine food from disease-free breeds, featuring a hatchery for black tiger shrimp and six nurseries.
Noting that value-added products will play an increasingly decisive role in the growth of the fishing sector, Prabhu said India was aiming at a 60-million-dollar turnover of Agricultural exports in the next five years. He called upon fish farmers to eye international market and fulfil international business parameters. The minister exhorted fish farmers to rely majorly on sustainable technology, adding that MPEDA will offer help on this front. “India’s fishing sector is facing multiple problems, also owing to climate change. That gives fresh vitality to aquaculture using inland water-bodies,” he added. Suresh Prabhu later distributed fingerlings raised at the MPEDA aquaculture complex to farmers and deposited a fresh bunch of fingerlings at its hatchery.
The new MPEDA project will cater to the demand from the aquaculture farmers in Kerala as well as the neighbouring states. The hatchery has a quarantine facility and an effluent treatment system as per biosecurity norms. The facility’s proximity to the international airport is an added advantage, ensuring faster transportation of seeds. The Vallarpadom facility can become a model for the establishment of similar facilities in other parts of the country especially in the Konkan region and parts of Maharashtra.
Speaking on the occasion, J Mercykuty Amma, Minister for Fisheries, Govt. of Kerala said, the MPEDA complex will boost Kerala’s fishing sector. “As much as 57 per cent of the country’s fish production comes from aquaculture, but this is much less in Kerala,” she added.
The other speakers included Prof. K V Thomas MP, S Sarma MLA, Dr. A Jayathilak IAS, former Chairman, MPEDA and Secretary, Kerala Port Department, and K S Srinivas IAS, Chairman, MPEDA. The Union Minister also inaugurated MPEDA’s signature stall that will function from the authority’s headquarters in Ernakulam.
The stall, named ‘Seafood India’, is a 1700-sq. ft. facility at Panampilly Nagar, selling and displaying value-added marine products of exporters, besides exhibiting products developed by prominent fisheries research institutes.