'Separate ministry needed for fisheries, ocean sector'

Scientists, oceanographers and marine experts Sunday urged the Indian government to form a separate ministry which brings all agencies and institutions working in the field of ocean and fisheries research under one roof for smooth implementation and management of all policies for the two sectors.

IANS| Last Updated: Feb 08, 2015, 23:10 PM IST

Kochi: Scientists, oceanographers and marine experts Sunday urged the Indian government to form a separate ministry which brings all agencies and institutions working in the field of ocean and fisheries research under one roof for smooth implementation and management of all policies for the two sectors.

The demand was made at the four-day at the World Ocean Science Congress (WOSC), which witnessed presentation of 450 technical papers in 13 sessions by 86 Indian institutions and 14 foreign institutions. The meet evolved a set of recommendations that will be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Government agencies and institutions like the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) and the National Institute of Ocean Technology participated in the Congress, which was jointly organized by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and the Swadeshi Science Movement.

Inaugurating the valedictory function of the WOSC 2015, former union minister K.V. Thomas said that the government should involve the fishing community while formulating polices that affect their livelihood.

"There is a clear distinction between fishing techniques in India, which are mostly traditional, and fishing practices elsewhere, especially in European countries, which are largely led by commercial interests," he said.

He said that the sea belongs to the traditional fishing community and that the government should take the initiative to make available the latest technology in the sector to the fisherfolk, who are facing challenges like low income and poor living standards.

Delivering the presidential address, KUFOS Vice-Chancellor and WOSC 2015 chair, Madhusoodana Kurup said that "for the first time in India, we were able to bring together all major stakeholders including the ocean research institutions and universities under one roof for addressing the challenges faced by the ocean sector as well as the fishing industry in the country.

The other major recommendation at the Congress was to establish a procedure to identify the potential use of coastal mineral resources based on environmental impact assessment.