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Parshottam Rupala inaugurates ‘International Conclave on Mainstreaming Climate Change into International Fisheries Governance’

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18 October 2023, New Delhi: Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (FAH&D) Parshottam Rupala inaugurated the ‘International Conclave on Mainstreaming Climate Change into International Fisheries Governance and Strengthening of Fisheries Management Measures in the Indo-Pacific Region’ today.

The conclave is being organized by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, and the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation (BOBP-IGO), during 17th-19th October 2023 at Mahabalipuram, Chennai with an aim to develop guidelines for climate resilient fisheries management and formulate strategies for the integration of climate change into international fisheries governance. Department of Fisheries, Secretary, Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, and Joint Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ms. Neetu Prasad were also present on the occasion of the inauguration.

While declaring the inauguration of the program Union Minister Parshottam Rupala said that this program should focus on the key elements of climate change, its impact on fisheries, preparedness of Governments and regional fisheries bodies towards the impact of climate change on fisheries. Rupala urged for inclusive space for all stakeholders based on common responsibilities and common interests and pitches for collaborative global action to address the climate crisis in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. He also urged for strategic interconnection for the common opportunities and common challenges shared by the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and called for the responsibility to face the challenges, and threats and resolve the problems together so as to make this region a suitable habitat for all life forms.

While thanking FAO for jointly organizing this important Workshop focusing on climate change and its impact on fisheries Rupala said that the outcomes of the workshop will be a great help to the fisher communities of the Indo pacific region to tackle adversaries and able to minimize the impact, if any. While emphasizing the efforts of the Government of India in the last 9 years through various schemes and programs for the fisheries sector, Union Minister Rupala informed about the transformational changes/reforms through multi-pronged strategies and focused interventions in the areas of fish production and productivity, technology infusion, strengthening and modernization of infrastructure, boosting domestic consumption and exports, growth of entrepreneurship and employment, etc. keeping welfare of fishers and fish farmers at the core.

Referring to the initiatives taken to promote the sector amid challenges, the Rupala said that the Union Government, in the last 9 years, has ushered in transformational changes and reforms in the areas of fish production and productivity, technology infusion, modernization of infrastructure, growth of entrepreneurship and employment, etc. He also mentioned that the Union Government is setting up a Multipurpose Seaweed Park (integrated aquapark) worth Rs.1.27 billion in Tamil Nadu. “Since 2015, focus attention has been given to modernization and creation of 107 projects of Fishing Harbours & Fish Landing Centres across the coastal states”, the Union Minister added.

Parshottam Rupala also said that the fisheries sector contributes a good stake in India’s economy and provides a livelihood for over 2.8 crore fishers and fish farmers at the primary level. “Seafood exports have more than doubled in the last nine years, with record exports of ₹63,969 crore (US$8.09 billion) in 2022-23. mp exports have also more than doubled in the last nine years, reaching ₹43,135 crore (US$5.48 billion) in 2022-23”, the Minister said. He also said “Under various schemes, an estimated 61.9 lakh employment and livelihood opportunities have been generated in the last nine years. Approximately 6 lakh fisher families are provided with livelihood and nutritional support annually during the fishing ban and lean period. An average of 38 lakh fishers per year are insured under the Group Accident Insurance Scheme “GAIS”. Union Minister Rupala invited all the participants to attend the first Global Fisheries Conference to be held on 21-22 November 2023 at Ahmadabad, Gujarat on the occasion of World Fisheries Day.

Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi informed about the few initiatives taken under schemes of Govt. of India especially under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for adapting to and mitigating, the effect of climate change in the fisheries sector. A few of the initiatives mentioned were the implementation of the National Surveillance Programme for Aquatic Animal Diseases (NSPAAD) which helps in the assessment of fish diseases due to climate change, the promotion of the use of renewable sources of energy for the operation of fishing vessels and onboard processing, installation of biodigester toilets on mechanized fishing vessels to reduce the marine environment pollution.

FAO representative in India appreciated FAHD for hosting the important international workshop and called for the member countries to keep Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core while working for the livelihood, nutrition & welfare in the fisheries sector because climate change is an issue here to stay. FAO representative also suggested for gender inclusiveness in the sector to achieve nutritional security and blue transformation.

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