India is the world’s seventh largest producer of fish. Though India has a long coastline of 7517 km including the coastlines of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep and a continental shelf spreading over 3 lakh square kilometers, the fishing industry in the country is mostly in a primitive stage and needs remedial measures urgently if the huge potential fish resources are to be exploited fully.
Fish is an important food stuff of the inhabitants of the coastal area. But it has not so much of importance in export trade in the international sphere. Our country has not progressed much in the field of marine fisheries.
Natural and economic reasons are responsible for it. The coastlines of India are not so much indented and there are no estuaries and fiords in the coastline. So, favorable spots and-conditions are wanting for having good fishing ports.
Our continental shelves are also not wide. Improved type of boats, ships, nets and accessories have not been possible in the field of marine fisheries in our country. Still sophisticated modern accessories, nylon nets etc. are being used in the coasts of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal as a result of which fishing industry has made rapid strides in recent years.
Coastal fisheries are carried on in the coastal zone, up to 25 meters depth and stretching for a few km from the shore. It is the most intensive fishing zone of India accounting for almost the entire marine fish production in the country. The fishing in this bell is composed of pelagic species like pomfret, sardines, mackerel, silver, lellies. Shrimps, sharks and halibut and so on about 71 pre cent of the total production of the marine fish is landed along the west coast in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Goa and in the islands of India.
Off-shore and deep sea fishing has not been developed fully so far in India but it has some development in the coasts of Kerala and Goa.
About one-third of the country’s total fish production comes from inland fisheries including the fresh water fisheries like tanks and ponds, rivers. Irrigation canals, reservoirs and fresh water lakes etc. The catches include cafla, rehita, carp regale, shrimp etc.
Fresh water fishes are available in abundance in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar. Now more production of fishes has been possible because of pisciculture schemes in our country. The reservoirs of the multi-purpose river dam projects have added to the inland fisheries to a great extent.