Kochi: Indian waters house around 500 species of ornamental fishes but their business potential is very often ignored leading to huge loss of foreign exchange for the country.
Lack of awareness about the huge business potential of ornamental fishes was the main reason why the sector still lags behind”, said B Madhusoodana Kurup from the School of Industrial Fisheries - Cochin University of Science and Technology.
Global trading in ornamental fishes is around Rs 31,000 crore though India’s contribution in it is a paltry Rs3 crores. The sector provides employment to 1.5 million people, mostly from the rural areas.
Singapore is one of the leading traders in ornamental fishes and contributes as high as 20% of its world export. Malaysia accounts for 7% and Sri Lanka 4% of the world trade in ornamental fishes. India’s share is just 0.008%.
In India, the western ghats and north-eastern states are endowed with several indigenous varieties of fishes, many of which can be reared as ornamental fishes.
The Kerala Government has taken a number of initiatives to boost ornamental fish export. An aqua-park company is being floated by the state government with its export hub at Kodungaloor near Kochi.
Satellite farms have also been set up across the state to boost production and export one crore fishes per annum to different international destinations including the European Union countries and the US.