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Satellite to identify barren areas for aquaculture: Suresh Prabhu

IANS | New Delhi |

Satellite imagery will be used to systematically map brackish and barren tracts of land for development of aquaculture, which is one of the biggest employment generators in the seafood sector, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.

Prabhu, while speaking at the inaugural session of the 21st India International Seafood Show in Margao town, located 35 km south of Panaji, also said that the central government was looking to double the export of marine products over the next few years.

“Aquaculture is not just the biggest employment generator in the seafood sector, it is also helping us use land that is not fit for any other purpose, for example, brackish water lands. We will try and systematically map all such regions using satellite imagery in the next few months and identify potential areas for development of aquaculture,” Prabhu said.

“We will actively work with the states to make sure they are able to optimally use these lands and take advantage of their exports potential,” Prabhu also said.

Prabhu also said, that the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the Seafood Exporters Association of India would have to work together to come up with a detailed strategy to build robust aquaculture and fisheries industries in the next three months and facilitate its immediate implementation.

“Inland fishery is a priority area for the government and the aim is to create a system for all the 13 coastal states to work in tandem for aquaculture development,” Prabhu also said, adding that the central government had proposed to create 10 marketing offices around the world to promote and create brand equity for Indian products.

“Marketing today is not just about selling your ware, attention must also be placed on the quality of the products, on packaging, on increasing their shelf-life and so on,” he said, adding that the as a minister he had been encouraging companies in high potential markets such as Korea and Japan to explore joint ventures with Indian partners for value-added marine products.

In 2016-17, India exported 11,34,948 metric tons of seafood, principally frozen shrimp and frozen fish and provisional export figures for April-November 2017 have shown an increase of 18.72 per cent and 15.16 per cent respectively in quantity and value of seafood exports.