(Last Updated on : 05/03/2010)
In India, fishing is considered as a bright and prosperous industry. With short supplies of fish on land, India looks to the sea that holds huge promise and it can supply vast quantity of fish. Fish is a rich source of high grade proteins. It is quite surprising that fishing industry in India is almost in a primitive stage in spite of having a really long coastal line of near about 6100 kms and a broad continental shelf particularly in several parts along the West Coast. Another probable reason is that modernization on a limited scale began after the independence of the country.
Fishing in India suffers from several climatic disadvantages. Firstly, India being a tropical country, fish does not keep fresh for long time without proper refrigeration. Modernization in this context means replacing fishing craft by power driven boats, providing facilities of quick refrigeration of fish to avoid its putrefaction. It also includes arranging canneries for surplus fish, utilizing discarded portions of fish for making fertilizers, etc., providing refrigerated road transport facilities to inland markets and the marketing of fish on cooperative lines. Hence, steps are being taken to introduce modernization in the fishing industry of India in order to bring better results in this particular area.
India has several mechanized boats as well as numerous commercial deep sea fishing vessels. Moreover, fishing harbours have been constructed on the East Coast and the West Coast. In ocean fish is caught in shallow waters whose depth is moderately less. The fishing boats remain near the coast and they rarely go beyond a distance of around 11 kms from the coast. Coastal fisheries are not significant in the country as Indian coastline is not indented. Fish is mainly caught in the back waters of Kerala
as well as Tamil Nadu
, in deltas of Ganga River
, Mahanadi River
, Krishna River
, Godavari River
and Kaveri River
, Chilka Lake
and a huge number of creeks on the West Coast.
Further, inland rivers like the Brahmaputra River
, Ganga River and their tributaries like Tapti River
, Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri, Sutlej River
and Krishna and the abundant canals, tanks and ponds are tapped for fresh water fish. States like West Bengal Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu have several large rivers and they account for a huge percentage of the total fresh water catch in India. Fish is also imported from neighbouring countries. Interestingly, in India, fishing along the West Coast is by far more important than along the East Coast. Fishing along the West Coast and in the inland lagoons in Kerala is very common in the country. Moreover, varieties of edible shellfishes are caught for export.
Pond culture is not feasible in those regions on the Indian Plateau and northern Western India where ponds go dry and have little water during the hot dry season. Further, fish culture is being extended to other favourable areas of the country too. Development of fisheries in the reservoirs of water formed as a result of the execution of the river valley projects. Fish oil industry is still in infancy and exports of marine products and overall growth of fishing industry have increased tremendously over the past few years.