1. Prologue
  2. Fisheries: Scope/significance
  3. EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone
  4. Fish Supply chain
    1. Saltwater@Upstream
    2. Freshwater@Upstream
    3. Aquaculture@upstream
    4. Shrimp-farming@Upstream
    5. @Processing
    6. @Downstream
  5. Government Policies/Schemes
    1. Comprehensive Marine Fishing Policy, 2004
    2. National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)  
    3. Government Schemes
    4. Fishermen Welfare Scheme
    5. International Support
    6. State governments
  6. Mock Questions


syllabus of UPSC Mains (GS) topics in this article
(GS1) Distribution of key natural resources across the world and India just a brief table on EEZ
(GS2) Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors Comprehensive Marine Fishing Policy, 2004
(GS2) Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population Fishermen Welfare Scheme
(GS3) Food processing and related industries in India-scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Related to freshwater, saltwater and shrimps.

later: we’ll see [Food processing] Poultry, meat, tea, coffee, wine, edible oil.

Fisheries: Scope/significance

  • India is the second largest producer of fish in the world
GDP contribution
  • ~5% within GDP from agri-allied sector.
  • ~0.8% within total GDP.
Export (2011-12 data)
  • Indian Fish export >$3500 million dollar
  • Indian meat export ~$3000 million dollar
  • still, India’s share in world export Is barely 0.1% (for each fish and meat individually)
Gives employment to more than
  • 3000 fishermen villages
  • 8 lakh fishermen families
  • 40 lakh fishermen

Top 5 fish producers

Top-5 Countries (2009 data) Top-5 States (2012 data)
  1. China
  2. India
  3. Peru
  4. Indonesia
  5. Vietnam
  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. West Bengal
  3. Gujarat
  4. Kerala
  5. Tamil Nadu

Some stupid numbers from economic survey

Export (2011-12 data) export (approx. Million dollar) India’s share in world trade (approx.)
Fish 3400 3%
Meat 2700 2%

Geographical advantage:

Coast Line more than 8100 kms
Continental Shelf ~half million sq.km
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) more than 2 million sq.km

+millions of hectares of ponds, tanks, rivers, reservoirs, canals, brackish water area.

EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone

The EEZ of India can be further divided into the following regions:

WEST COAST=42% OF EEZ North West  Gujarat & Maharashtra
South West  Goa, Karnataka & Kerala
EAST COAST=28% OF EEZ Lower East Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Pondicherry
Upper East  Orissa & West Bengal

Remaining EEZ area under Andaman and the Nicobar Islands.

Andaman- Nicobar Lakshadweep
6 lakhs sq km EEZ 4 lakh sq km EEZ

There is immense potential for import of fish into India from neighboring countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
Indian fisheries sector classification

  1. Marine
    1. Deep Sea Fishing
    2. Coastal Fishing
  2. Inland (Freshwater)
  3. Aquaculture

Fish Supply chain Management

Poultry Meat & Fish Supply Chain

click to enlarge Supply Chain of Fish

  • Among all Desi food processing industries, Fish processing supply chain = shortest. Because in most of the cases, fishermen themselves sell their catch directly to consumers via local wet fish markets.
  • Alternate channels for distribution: Fishermen=> commission agents=> Fish market.


  1. Arabian sea=broader continental shelf=fish production higher than Eastern coast.
  2. Despite government ban, fisherman use fine-sized net= even Juvenile fish are being caught.
  3. 30% to 40% of the catch is discarded by fishermen in high seas because juvenile fish who don’t fetch good prices in market= resource lost.
  4. During breeding season, fishing is banned in coastal waters. But the authorities don’t enforce it strictly.
  5. Lack of surveillance of territorial waters= even outsiders (Pakistani fishermen) do illegal fishing in our area.
  6. The EEZ around Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep confluences with international waters. This makes these Island territories vulnerable to illegal Fishing by foreign vessels.
  7. Most fishing vessels don’t have facility to freeze the fish onboard immediately after catching= quality deterioration before they reach the coast.
  8. unregulated fishing of highly migratory species just outside the EEZ=negative impact on Marine biodiversity.
  9. Most vessel don’t have special equipment to do deep water fishing beyond depth of 400m. Example yellow fin tuna found around Lakshadweep islands. They’re almost unexploited since the technology for deep long lining is not prevalent in the Islands.

Fish Supply: Freshwater@Upstream

  • For inland fisheries, two big players= WB+Andhra.
  • But even those state governments not enforcing fishing net size in rivers, lakes and reservoirs= juvenile fish caught and discarded.
  • Fishing ban during breeding season not strictly enforced.


  • National Fisheries Development Board vs. Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
  • Their jurisdictions/responsibilities are still not clearly defined
  • Result: overlapping, lack of synergy.
  • Freshwater aquaculture, contributed to the ‘Blue Revolution’ in the country in late 1970s. But not it is now almost stagnating in terms of yield rates.
  • Fish production can be enhanced 2 to 4 times by creating more rainfed water bodies via MNREGA labour. But this potential is largely ignored.
  • Fish feed not available at reasonable prices.
  • Most farmers are small/marginal, don’t know best practices in cultivation, post-harvest management for fish farming.
  • waste disposal done in hygienic manner= environmental implications


  • Nellor District, AP= Shrimp Capital of India.
  • Pink revolution=Shrimp/prawns. (as per some books/ PDF reports.)
  • Pink revolution also means meat + poultry. (as per food processing ministry, FAO etc)
  • anyways, let’s check the issues.
  • Disease free brooder stock (parent shrimps)= not available. Hence their next generation is also diseased.
  • If you import the brooder stock=there are no regulation/quality  checks =infected stock=>the shrimps thus grown have variety of disease=rejected in US/EU for export.
  • For aquaculture/shrimp culture, you need to get approval from State fisheries Department. But Often, the state departments take 3-6 months to scrutinize documents= project implementation delayed.
  • Imported feed or antibiotics=>high custom duty=expensive.
  • Therefore lot of Chinese/counterfeit/spurious products in market.
  • Farmer unknowingly uses such input= antibiotic traces found in Indian shrimps=>they’re rejected in US/EU market.
  • feed cost accounts for 50% of the total cost
  • Government investment in research for low cost feed and technology required.
  • Need to educate farmers on modern techniques of shrimp farming so they can enhance the quality and body weight of shrimps.
  • but there is shortage of extension staff for fisheries in state departments.


Fish Supply:NOTABLE Indian PLAYERS
  • Adani Exports, Hindustan Lever Ltd, Ruchi Worldwide, Vishal Exports, Aditya Enterprises ,Liberty, Falcon Marine.
  • Potable water is not available at landing and cleaning sheds at the ports.
  • EU specifies more than 50 parameters of water, If traces of these chemicals are detected= product rejected. (and as you can guess, our exports are often rejected.)
  • Need Focused research to develop low-cost packaging for seafood products, both for the export + domestic market.
  • Even for exports, our fish-processing is primary/basic level
  • We merely freeze/mince the fishes/shrimps and export them to China/Thailand/Japan.
  • They do more value-addition and create variety of ready-to-eat fish food (e.g. sushi shrimps) =>export to US/EU @higher prices.
Fish Supply Chain INVESTMENT
  • To comply with US/EU/HACCP regulation, we need huge capital investments to upgrade our processing units.

Fish Supply: @Downstream

More than 1/3rd of Indians eat fish but demand for “processed fish”=limited because

  • Indian consumer prefer wet (fresh) fish rather than processed fish.
  • Cost of processed fish product= 20-25% higher than fresh fish.(due to indirect taxes)
  • Desi Consumers prefer to buy fresh fish from wet markets and process it at home
  • Therefore, Indian fish processing segment=entirely export-oriented, due to lack of local/domestic demand
  • Fish prices more than doubled during the Eleventh Plan, a higher inflation than either crops or any other livestock segment.
  • This is negatively affecting business and demand.
  • There is inadequate awareness about nutritional benefits of fish.
  • Need marketing campaign to increase desi-demand- showing hygienic, healthy, consistent quality of branded, packaged fish products over the unhygienic macchi-market.
Fish Supply: RETAILERS
  • Large number of retailers are unable to sell processed fish products because they don’t have due to cooling storage facilities + electricity problems.
  • We don’t export Ready to eat marine products in significant volumes, because we are not aware of varied tastes and cuisines in different regions of the world
  • need investment in marketing research in foreign consumers’ food preferences.
  • US Department of Commerce has imposed an anti-dumping duty on Indian Shrimp. more on dumping, already discussed click me
  • US/EU/foreign countries often reject our fish/shrimp cargos for traces of antibiotics, heavy-metals, foul smell.

Government Policies/Schemes


States Marine fisheries within the territorial waters are the subject of maritime states
Centre Fisheries beyond this limit within the EEZ fall in the jurisdiction of Central Government.

Comprehensive Marine Fishing Policy, 2004

By Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Agriculture

Three main objectives: 1) boost export 2)socio-economic welfare of fishermen 3) protect marine ecology/biodiversity

ACTIVITY policy will address following:
protection + welfare
technology transfer to small scale sector
  • work out strategy for fishing in Antarctic waters by Indian owned vessels
  • infrastructure support, Joint Venture for fish processing and export
  • PPP: Build-Operate-Own and Build- Operate-Transfer systems.

Salient Features of this policy

    • increase per capita (fish) protein intake
    • Attention to consumer rights. Ensuring food safety, mandatory bar coding and packaging for sale of fish products.
    • Ensure international quality and food safety in fish and fishery products.
    • Ensure Hygiene in fishing harbor and processing centers.
    • Protect consumers from fish contaminated with heavy metals and other hazardous chemicals discharged from industrial establishments.
    • eco labeling of marine products
    • Each fisherman household would be given a card for easy identification.
    • Strengthen Cooperative movement of fishermen
    • Uniformity in central-state welfare schemes for fisherman.
    • Greater participation of cooperatives, NGOs and local self-Governments
    • Government to contribute towards Insurance scheme for only those fishermen who do not own a boat.
    • Fishermen Housing Schemes will unified and implemented as a master plan through a national agency.
    • responsible and sustainable fishing practices to Preserve environment and biodiversity
    • Strict ban on all types of destructive methods of fishing.
    • Regulate Mesh sizes in different parts of the fishing gear. Penalties for violations of mesh regulations.
    • Prohibit Catching of juveniles and non- targeted species=prohibited
    • greater liaison between Central and State Pollution Control Board to control all industrial establishments discharging effluents in to the sea
    • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in effluent discharge systems will be made mandatory.
    • Mangrove plantation in Coastal areas.
    • HRD, R&D, use of IT, strengthening marine database via satellites etc.

National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)

HQ: Hyderabad. For both inland and marine fish. Promotes following

  1. Accelerated development of the fisheries and aquaculture in a sustainable manner
  2. Hygienic development of wholesale and retail markets
  3. Mariculture (cultivation of marine organized in enclosed section of ocean / pond / tank etc. Example: prawn, pearls, agar etc)
  4. Training to fishermen/fish farmers

Government Schemes

National Mission for Protein Supplement (NMPS)
  • Component of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
  • to promote production of animal based protein through livestock development, dairy farming, pig and goat rearing and fisheries
Development of Inland fisheries & Aquaculture
  • fish farmers were provided assistance for freshwater aquaculture. ~30000 already benefitted under 11th FYP.
Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure Post Harvest Operations.
  • development of 13 fishing harbors and 4 fish landing centres, 4 fishing harbors were repaired and renovated. (11th FYP)
  • safety appliances provided
Strengthening of Database & Geographic Information System for Fisheries Sector.
  • Under the scheme, inland water bodies are surveyed and mapped in the States.
  • Work already finished in W.Bengal.

Fishermen Welfare Scheme

In the 90s, there were multiple schemes for fishermen welfare but in mid-2000s, all of them combined into single “Centrally Sponsored National Scheme on Welfare of Fishermen” (duh, no catchy name/abbreviation, not named after you know who. but then again, scheme falls under Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying= under Sharad Pawar=not directly under you know who’s party.)

anyways, this scheme has:

Two pronged approach

  • To prevent any short term decline in the standard of living. (via insurance + savings)
  • To enhance the long term general living standard of the entire community. (via model village + training)

four broad components

  • fishermen (both inland and marine) will be given basic civic amenities like houses, drinking water, tube-well and commonplace for recreation and work.
  • for housing- Preference will be given to fishermen below poverty line and to landless fishermen.
  • Group Accident Insurance for Active Fishermen.
  • Rs 50,000/- against death or permanent total disability and Rs 25,000/- for partial permanent disability.
  • 50:50 cost sharing by Center:state
  • during the fishing season (8 month), fisherman will give Rs.600, + government will contribute another Rs. 600. (total 1200)= this plus bank-interest will be given to fisherman during lean season (remaining 4 months of the year)
  • self explanatory
  • to update knowledge and improving skills of fishers in regard to modern fishing technology.


CIBA IMMUNoDot An immunodot blot test for early detection of WSS virus in shrimp. Patent pending.
Silver pompano
  • Successful breeding experiments carried out.
  • can be done in ponds, tanks and floating sea cages.
  • price of pompano is about Rs.200/-per kg, The species is able to acclimatize and grow well  in the vast low saline and brackish waters of our country.

International Support

  • Several international organizations, including the World Bank, UNDP , DANIDA, NORAD, ODA (UK and Japan) provide aid to India for the development of fisheries sector .
  • (UK) has provided technical aid for the prevention of post-harvest losses in marine fisheries. Recently, FAO launched a scheme for providing technical assistance to implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) in seafood processing industries.

State governments

They need to do following:

  1. Enforce fishing holidays during breeding season.
  2. Awareness camps to educate the fishermen on importance of the breeding cycle of the fish to replenish the stock.
  3. Regulate fishing net size. 30 mm mesh size should be standardized for use.
  4. Announce specific financing schemes for purchase of requisite vessels and equipment
  5. Allow only a sustainable number of vessels to operate in the coastal waters. Don’t give license to everyone.
  6. Leasing of coastal zones – There is need to consider leasing of coastal zones on a long term basis (30 years) to private sector players, for introduction of advanced mariculture technologies such as cage culture, pen culture etc.  for augmenting fish production.

Mock Questions


  1. Correct Statement about EEZ of India
    1. Eastern Cost has larger area under EEZ than Western Cost
    2. Among Union Territories, Lakshadweep is surrounded by the maximum EEZ area.
    3. Both
    4. None
  2. Correct statements about yellow fin tuna
    1. Found in the shallow coastal waters around Lakshadweep
    2. It is on verge of becoming extinct, because of destructive fishing in this region.
    3. Both
    4. None


  • 2m
    1. Obstacles to Pink Revolution in India
    3. National Mission for Protein Supplement (NMPS)
    4. National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
  • 12m
    1. Issues affecting supply chain of marine fisheries.
    2. Write a note on Centrally Sponsored National Scheme on Welfare of Fishermen.
    3. Enumerate the salient features of the Comprehensive Marine Fishing Policy.
    4. Define Aquaculture and Mariculture. Discuss their significance in rural development in coastal areas.
  • 25m
    1. Although India is the second largest fish producer of the world, the share of fisheries sector in India’s GDP is negligible. Examine the reasons for this phenomenon and suggest remedies.
  • Essay
    1. Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.
    2. India is rich in people, rich in culture, rich in resources and rich in trouble.