The Odisha government has decided to frame a dynamic and facilitating policy for tapping the available potential of brackish water aquaculture as the sector has recorded a significant growth in the last 10 years, an official said.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting held on digital mode under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra on Friday.
Secretary Fisheries and Animal Resource Development R Raghu Prasad said that there was significant growth in the sector over the last 10 years. The production of brackish water fish has increased from 11,460 MT in 2011-12 to 97,125 MT in the year 2020-21 thereby marking a record growth of 747.51 per cent.
The area under brackish water aquaculture also increased from 5,860 hectares to 17,780 hectares during the same period, he said.
The seafood export value from Odisha also increased from Rs 801 crore in the year 2011-12 to Rs 3,107 crore in the year 2020-21 despite the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19. The quantum of export in the year 2011-12 was around 21,311 MT which increased to 60,718 MT in the year 2020-21.
“Odisha seafood has caught the global market more particularly in Japan, China, USA, countries in the European Union, South East Asia and the Middle East,” said Prasad.
He also said: “There is greater potential of brackish aquaculture in the state both in the government and private land. The sector also can attract more private investments”.
Keeping the potential of the sector, the chief secretary directed the departments of Revenue and Disaster Management, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development, Forest and Environment department and the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to work out a dynamic and facilitating policy for taping the available potential of brackish water aquaculture in the state.
IDCO was directed to identify the potential land in different districts and develop a land bank for the purpose in close coordination with fishery officers and respective collectors. The chief secretary also directed IDCO to identify land in clusters and develop the facilities like saline water drainage, road and power connectivity for building aquaculture parks.
The officers of the Fisheries and Animal Resource Development operating at different levels were asked to drive the programme in a proactive manner.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest and Environment Dr Mona Sharma advised to identify the land patches for brackish water aquaculture keeping in view the regulations of coastal area regulatory zone (CRZ) notification and coastal aquaculture authority Act so as to avoid any possible embarrassment to the farmers in future.
Further, the chief secretary directed to hold consultations with the operating farmers, farms along with other stakeholders; and, take their input for making the policy more forward looking, facilitating and effective.
The chief secretary also directed to tap the potentialities in the sector by bringing in the self-help groups, primary fishermen cooperative societies, women cooperatives, educated unemployed enterprising youths, partnership farms and state owned cooperatives on commercial basis.
Official sources said around 2,000 applications for brackish water aquaculture were submitted to different tehsils in five major coastal districts namely Balasore, Bhardak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam.