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Odisha aims Rs 20,000 crore seafood exports in five years

Rs 5,000 aid per annum to fishermen during fishing ban
Bhubaneswar, Oct 14: Odisha has aimed to increase its sea food exports to Rs 20,000 crore from the State per annum in the next five years, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while speaking at a workshop on ‘Seafood Export: Prospects and Challenges’ here on Friday.

Organised by the Fisheries and Animal Resource Department (F&ARD), the workshop focused on the rapidly growing fisheries sector in the state and huge scope for sea food export.

It was revealed in the workshop that a total of 34,767 MT marine products worth Rs 2,069 crore was exported from the State in 2014-15, which is a growth of 450 per cent over export of Rs 379 crore in 2000-01.

The FARD Department has a vision to increase the exports to Rs.20,000  crore per annum in the next five years.

Odisha is one of the major maritime states, offering vast scope for development of inland, brackish water and marine fisheries.

The State’s 480 km long coastline with 24,000 sq km area within the continental shelf has ample potential for marine fisheries development.

Freshwater resources of the State are estimated to be 6.76 lakh hectares (ha) comprising 1.25 lakh ha of tanks/ ponds, 2 lakh ha of reservoirs, 1.80 lakh ha of lakes, swamps and bheels and 1.71 lakh ha of rivers and canals.

The State’s brackish water resources cover 4.18 lakh ha – 0.79 lakh ha of Chilika Lake, 2.98 lakh ha of estuaries, 32,587 ha of brackish water area and 8,100 ha of backwaters.

The State has 24,031 ha of suitable brackish water government land which can be utilized for L. Vannamei culture.

L. Vannamei has high potential for export and the State Government plans to provide suitable land for brackish water aquaculture to beneficiaries of anti-poverty programmes-persons under BPL category, fishermen by profession or by caste, landless persons, marginal farmers, educated unemployed persons, self-help groups, primary fisheries cooperative societies, women cooperatives – who are eligible for up to 5 ha land.

Partnership farms, technical entrepreneurs, state owned corporations and exporters are entitled up to 10 ha and even more.

The Brackish Water Land Leasing Principles are in place and there is provision for giving preference to the existing farmers, technically qualified persons and trained as well as experienced persons.
By harnessing the brackish water resources through leasing, the department has plans to enhance shrimp production to 3 lakh MT in next five years.

To cope up with the increased production, infrastructures like ice plant, processing plant, refrigerated transportation vehicle, laboratories, equipment and machineries for culture activities, feed plant, road network, electric connectivity to clusters will be required in addition to road connectivity to shrimp clusters.

The Jagatjore-Banpada Shrimp Culture project has been leased out to a private company for taking up Vannamei culture extensively. This will also help in increasing the export and employment generation.

The department has recently entered into a technical collaboration with World Fish to adopt best management practices for increasing productivity in the existing water bodies.

The state has a target to double the fish production in the next five years and as the pioneer State in the country, it has already notified Odisha Fisheries Policy, 2015.

To achieve this goal, the State Government is taking steps to induct the required manpower. At least 123 posts of Assistant Fisheries Officers and 112 posts of Junior Fisheries Technical Assistants have already been filled up. 

On the occasion the Chief Minister also launched a new State Plan Scheme, “Livelihood Support to Marine Fishermen During Fishing Ban Periods.”

To be operational from the financial year 2016-17, the scheme is intended to provide financial assistance to poor marine fishermen and fish workers adversely affected due to ban on account of sea turtle protection and marine fisheries resources conservation. Such assistance is aimed to strengthen the livelihood support of fisherman.

This assistance would be in addition to the support available under the Saving-cum-Relief Scheme of the Central Government, which is quite inadequate.

For the Livelihood Support to Marine Fishermen During Fishing Ban Periods during 2016-17, 2000 most vulnerable BPL families will be selected by the Director of Fisheries in the most transparent manner in the Olive Ridley Turtle Conservation area.

The affected fishermen will each receive an amount of Rs 5,000 per annum. After assessing the success of the scheme, steps will be taken to extend it for further four years.

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