Kochi-headquartered Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) is set to open a new regional research centre in Digha, West Bengal, aimed at fulfilling research and development needs, an official said on Thursday.

This is the 11th regional research centre of the CMFRI — the largest fisheries research institute in the country under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said an official release here.

The new centre will focus on assessing important commercial marine fish stocks of West Bengal, including hilsa, a popular variety in the region, the release said.

CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan said that though sporadic research has been carried out on in West Bengal and Odisha, a focussed approach was lacking.

"CMFRI has been developing fisheries management plans for each maritime state. The management policy guidelines are being designed in such a way that helps in scientific management of marine fisheries for each state," he said.

The hilsa is showing a drastic decline and the new centre will focus on research activities for the conservation and sustainable harvest of the species.

The centre will also provide advisories to the West Bengal and Odisha governments on the optimum number of fishing vessels and the option for managing fish stocks.