Kochi: The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) here on Monday said that priority should be given to boost infrastructure for fisheries while utilising a financial package of Rs 20,000 crore announced by the Centre under the ongoing Matsya Samapada Yojana.
The money should be utilised to assist fishermen in modernising their fishing vessels with focus on sea safety, navigation and fish-tracking capabilities, advance warning receptivity, cold storage capacity and hygienic handling of fish onboard.
It also demanded that segments requiring priority include establishment of vessel monitoring systems (VMS), which is a long-pending demand.
Special focus may also be given to enhance the export potential of fish, such as tuna, by imparting the required onboard handling skills to the fishermen, enabling value addition and further development of value chains.
The CMFRI also pointed out that mariculture, mainly cage farming, can absorb significant capital investments and a considerable share of the allocation should be channelled to set up marine fish brood banks, hatcheries and auxiliary facilities for cage fish farming.
"Mariculture and coastal aquaculture also has the potential to provide gainful employment to a section of the jobless returnees from other countries. Seaweed mariculture can get a fillip from the proposed reforms in contract farming laws," said A. Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI.
According to him, emphasis also may be given on developing modern landing and berthing facilities, input dispensing facilities, hygienic handling and waste management facilities, and connectivity. The package may be utilised to upgrade the facilities in wholesale markets suitably.
"Technological upgradation of market infrastructure ranging from introduction of digital weighing systems, electronic auction platforms, traceability systems for fish consignments, market data warehouse and intelligence systems is another major segment identified by the institute," said Gopalakrishnan.