New Delhi: The government is in the process of drafting a model Bill for all the states and Union Territories to provide uniform guidelines for enhancing inland fish production.
“The Committee, set up to look into the issue, is fine tuning and incorporating suggestions from the states and UTs. The model Bill is expected to be submitted to the Agriculture Ministry soon,” said Fisheries Director in the Department of Husbandry, B.N. Nanda.
The Committee, headed by ICAR Deputy Director General S. Ayyappan, is looking at several issues of the states on inland fish production.
“Every state has to enact separate law based on the model Bill as this is a state subject under the Constitution,” he said adding that this will facilitate uniform rules and regulations across the country.
“It will provide uniform guidelines that aims to increase production to meet the domestic demand of around 10 million tonnes by the end of Eleventh Plan period (2007-12),” Nanda said.
“The marine fish production has almost touched the peak at 2.9 million tonnes, so the growth can now only be achieved in inland fishing,” he said.
The inland fish production during 2007-08 stood at 4.1 million tonnes compared with 3.8 million tonnes in the previous year.
India is the third largest fish producing country with China ruling at number one position. However, the gap in production between both the countries is huge, Nanda said adding that China produces 50 million tonnes, while India produces just 7.1 million tonnes.
Nanda said that there is tremendous potential for inland fisheries in the country with rivers and canals, 3.1 million hectares of reservoirs, 2.86 million hectares of ponds and tanks, 1.42 million hectares of brackish water among others.
Fisheries sector contributes about 1.4% to the total Gross Domestic Product of the country, of which inland fisheries provides for nearly 50%.