Experts attending the day-long deliberations under the fisheries improvement programme on Saturday at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) discussed, among other issues, the need for uniform measures to ensure sustainability of fisheries resources on which several millions of people along India’s coast depended for a living.

State governments have adopted several measures with a positive attitude towards conservation of fisheries resources for future generations. These measures include fishing holidays and ban on fishing during monsoon season, prescription on minimum legal size, and restrictions on addition of vessel capacity. However, there are differences of opinion on issues such as defining a vessel size as big or small, traditional, or non-traditional. There are also States that have frozen the addition of new vessels, while there are those without such restrictions.

The prevalence of different rules governing the fisheries sector, especially the marine capture sector, lead to inequalities in sharing the precious resources as the sector is the only source of income for several million people in the country both directly and indirectly.

The one-day meet was organised by Kufos and Indian Marine Ingredients Association. K.C. Veeranna, Vice-Chancellor of the Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, representatives of the Marine Products Export Development Authority, officials from the departments of Fisheries in Kerala, Goa, and Karnataka, seafood exporters, delegation of fish meal makers, scientists, and other stakeholders attended the discussions on Saturday.

Dr. Veeranna stressed the importance of fish as a source of food and nutrition security and the need to sustain the fisheries sector. Conservation of pelagic resources like Indian mackerels and oil sardines also came under focus during the discussions.