Minister of State for Fisheries Pramod Madhwaraj on Sunday urged the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) to concentrate on States such as Karnataka where aquaculture has not developed much.
Inaugurating the Aqua Aquaria India 2017, the largest show in Asia on aquaculture and ornamental fish culture here, Mr. Madhwaraj said the State government shall offer all facilities and assistance to MPEDA in its endeavour to develop the sector in Karnataka.
He lauded MPEDA for holding the show in Mangaluru, saying that for the first time the event was being organised on the west coast, while the earlier four editions were held on the east coast.
Mr. Madhwaraj noted that aquaculture had witnessed tremendous development on the east coast, compared to the west, and urged MPEDA to concentrate here too. Karnataka has enormous potential for marine as well as inland aquaculture with 27,000 sq km of continental shelf, 323 km of coastline, 5.65 lakh ha of inland water resources, he said.
This huge potential has to be harnessed and exploited for the benefit of fishermen and farmers in the State, the Minister said.
The available brackish water area of 8,000 ha provides good scope for shrimp/ fish culture.
Mr. Madhwaraj said the export oriented aquaculture in India has been synonymous with shrimp aquaculture.
Commercial shrimp aquaculture that began its growth in 90s peaked during 2005-06 with 1.85 lakh tonnes production.
However, the production decreased subsequently and again picked up after 2009, Mr. Madhwaraj said, adding that the production reached 4.06 lakh tonnes during 2015-16.
The Minister said the technology for ornamental fish farming too is well standardised in the domestic market and the need of the hour is to develop export market for the aquarium fishes.
The global ornamental fish industry is estimated worth around $18-20 billion, Mr. Madhwaraj said and urged those in the aquarium business to make use of the opportunity.
The show will be on till May 16 at Nehru Maidan in the city.
It showcases various production and harvest technologies, machinery and accessories in export oriented aquaculture.
Over 250 stalls have been set up for the purpose.