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Q. Indian fisheries have witnessed a paradigm shift from marine dominated fisheries to inland fisheries. Explain. Mention the steps taken by the government to promote the fishery sector. (10M/150W)

Approach to the answer 

Understanding and structuring the answer 

The question has 2 main parts – 1) reasons for decline in marine fisheries and 2) Government steps to promote fishery sector. 


Type 1: Give a brief description about the share of inland and marine fisheries and make a graph as well. 

Type 2: Write about the importance of marine fisheries and show a declining trend of it. 


Heading 1: Reasons for decline in share of Marine Fisheries – Divide it into two categories – Reasons for increase in inland fisheries and issues in Marine fisheries. 

Heading 2: Steps taken by the Government. 

Conclusion: Give a brief way forward. 


India has a long coastline of about 7500 km which is crucial in making it the second largest producer of fishes in the world after China. Till 2000, marine fish production dominated India’s total fish production. However due to practice of science-based fisheries, Inland fisheries in India has seen a turnaround and presently contributes around 70 % of total fish production. 

Reasons for transition

The reasons can be grouped under two broad categories as follows: 

  • Reasons for increase in share of inland fisheries:
    • Rich inland water resources are available in India which increases the inherent potential to act as major resources like rivers, ponds, lakes etc.
    • High Population Density along major rivers gives an assured market for inland fisheries.
    • The Crop-Fishery system, in which fishing is done on the crop field, is adopted by many farmers in Bihar and Bengal.
    • Support from Government for both production and post-production including harvest under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. 
  • Reasons for decreasing Marine Fisheries share:
    • Lack of Good Fishing grounds, due to lack of cold-warm current mixing along the Indian coast, unlike countries like Japan.
    • Greater diversity of fishery resources in the tropical regions creates difficulty in commercialization.
    • Limited scope for expansion due to over-exploitation in territorial waters.
    • Economic vulnerability of the fishermen along the eastern coast, limits the exploitation of the potential of an otherwise wide continental shelf.
    • Environmental destruction due to the use of bottom trawlers has disincentivized the marine fisheries.
    • Disputes with neighboring states like Sri-Lanka also negatively impact marine fisheries. 

Keeping in mind the importance of the fishery sector, the Government has initiated a blue revolution to promote fishery sector in India. 

Steps taken by the Government 

  • Separate Department: Foreseeing the vast resource potential and possibilities of export in the fisheries sector, a separate Department of Fisheries is created under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
  • National Fisheries Policy, 2020: It aims at comprehensive development of the fisheries sector through appropriate interventions to address the critical gaps in the fishery sector.
    • For example, it stressed the need to strengthen cooperative federalism to promote the fishery sector. A GST-like forum should be set up for this purpose.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: Under this initiative, a cluster-based approach is adopted to create fishery zones by developing forward-backward linkages.
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund: It envisages funding infrastructure projects in the fisheries sector with a corpus of Rs.7522.48 crore. 
  • Rural Infrastructure Development Fund: Government has permitted NABARD to extend RIDF loans for fisheries related infrastructure such as fishing harbors and riverine fisheries.
  • Kisan Credit Card: KCC facility is extended to fish farmers to meet the working capital requirement of fisheries activities including aquaculture. 

Way Forward

The fishery sector provides livelihood to about 16 million people at the primary level and almost twice the number along the value chain. There is a need to upgrade fishery infrastructure, provide better fishing vessels, quality checks to improve exports and facilitate creation of fisherman producer organizations.