Marine fisheries in India - Issues, opportunities and transition for sustainable development - A World Bank working paper

This working paper by the World Bank reviews the marine fisheries sub-sector.

This working paper by the World Bank presents the findings of a study that was conducted as a collaborative initiative by the World Bank and the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, to review the marine fisheries sub-sector, within a broader sector that also included aquaculture and inland fisheries.

The study was based largely on background papers developed from analyses of marine fisheries in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Orissa. These states were identified by DAHDF in consultation with the state fisheries departments, ensuring that the study covered both east and west coasts. The field work, consisted of focus group discussions, key person and household-level interviews which were conducted in major coastal ports, rural landing centers and fishing villages.

Information from secondary sources was also obtained in cooperation with various government agencies and national fisheries research institutions. Secondary data and various reports from Tamil Nadu and Kerala provided a rich source of information, and also helped confirm that the patterns emerging from the four focal states could reasonably represent a national picture of marine fishing.

The paper briefly describes how marine fisheries have evolved over time in India, identifies key issues and opportunities, and recommends some changes that could support more effective policies and management practices to gradually improve the productivity of fish stocks, increase net benefits, and improve equity and coastal livelihoods.

A review of economic, social and environmental performance in the study suggests that fisheries management in India is meeting only a few policy outcomes against stated planning goals established by the government. The continued policy focus on increasing fish production, underpinned by capacity and infrastructure improvement in the face of increasing resource scarcity is not a sustainable option for the future. The current approach to fisheries management is not addressing over exploitation, nor contributing to more positive economic and social outcomes, particularly for inshore fishing.

The paper concludes that:

  • India’s marine fishing sub-sector can develop a more valuable asset base by building more productive fish stocks
  • It can generate a higher level of sustainable net economic, social and environmental benefits in the future by capturing the inherent value of more productive fish stocks
  • It can improve the distribution of these benefits by providing for better equity among stakeholders

The entire report by the World Bank based on this study can be accessed from this link

A copy of the paper and the report can be downloaded below:

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