Kerala must host international summit on fishing: Suresh Prabhu

Kochi: Union Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday urged Kerala to host an international summit on fishing for the crucial sector to make a steady development in the coastal state.

“The Centre will provide all the support needed for such a summit that can feature exports to countries like Korea and Japan that are major consumers of Indian seafood. Value added products will play an increasingly decisive role in the growth of the fishing sector.

“India is aiming at a 60-million-dollar turnover of agricultural exports in the next five years. The fish farmers should eye the international market and fulfill international business parameters,” he said, while inaugurating a pioneering multi-species aquaculture complex built by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) at Vallarpadam island near here.

Spread over nine acres, the Rs 7.26 crore state-of-the-art unit facilitates production of marine food from disease-free breeds, featuring a hatchery for black tiger shrimps and six nurseries.

The project will cater to the demand from aquaculture farmers in Kerala as well as the neighbouring states.

The Union Minister asked fish farmers to rely on sustainable technology, adding that MPEDA will offer help on this front.

“India’s fishing sector is facing multiple problems, also owing to climate change. That gives fresh vitality to aquaculture using inland water-bodies. Exports should be the ultimate aim of each aqua farmer and they should ensure that the aquaculture produce is sustainable and meets the export quality norms. MPEDA will offer all kinds of assistance in this direction,” said Prabhu.

Kerala Fisheries Minister J. Mercykuty Amma said the MPEDA complex will boost Kerala’s fishing sector.

“Aquaculture in the state should focus more on inland water-bodies,” the Minister said.