The report provides an overall assessment of the fish stock status under the prevalent fisheries management regime in the country, following the FAO’s sustainability indicators criteria based on the MSY concept. It covers a wide variety of fisheries resources harvested along the Indian coast ranging from the long-lived, slow-growing elasmobranchs to the fast-growing and shortlived invertebrates such as squids and penaeid prawns.

In its present form, it should not be considered to be a certification of the fisheries. However, it paves the way for an MSE process for the Indian marine fisheries sector. The report has used widely accepted micro-analytical assessment models to arrive at the stock status. Currently only 70 species have been assessed, however resources, such as seerfishes, shads (Hilsa), threadfins and other prioritised species can be evaluated in the future. Appreciating the difference in life history traits and response to fishing efforts among species, an in-depth individual assessment report for each species/ stock using multi-model assessments with stock-specific reference points is recommended.

Marine fish stock status is inherently dynamic, and hence can change across assessment periods. A stock indicated as healthy does not imply that management measures are not needed. Instead, it indicates that current management measures are adequate in the prevailing circumstances. Such fish stocks need to be moved to a higher level of fishery controls only in exceptional cases, as and when determined from the periodic stock assessments.

The status indicated for different species by region indicates the rationale for implementing regional management measures; suitable amendments can be made within the scope of the Marine Fisheries Regulation Acts (MFRA) of concerned maritime states. Emphasis on regional approaches for gear-based evaluation of fishing activities and developing Fisheries Management Plans to address concerns about specific fishery resources is recommended. We hope that this document will bring together multiple stakeholders in the Indian marine fisheries sector, to develop appropriate policies in a timely manner.