Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday pitched for increasing fish production in the country even as he cautioned against 'reckless' exploitation of limited resources, especially endangered marine species.
In his inaugural address at Aqua Aquaria India 2019, a bi-annual event organised by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in Hyderabad, he said the country was the second largest producer of fish and fourth largest exporter in the world.
"It is a matter of pride that India is the second largest fish producer in the world with a production of 13.70 million tonnes during 2018-19, he said. All should make efforts to reach the first position," he said.
He said fish constituted about 10 per cent of total exports from the country and almost 20 per cent of agriculture exports in 2017-18.
With export earnings of USD 7 billion, India is the fourth largest exporter of fish in the world. Still, there is lot of scope for improving our exports also, Naidu said.
The ever increasing world population and the rising food demand was putting further pressure on the available food resources.
"Hence, the need to boost fish production is felt now, more than ever, to ensure food security to the country's billion strong population," Naidu stressed.
"As of now you may think we have food security. India is definitely having food security. But, we should not be complacent. Because, our population is increasing. Our food habits are changing and also there is a deficiency of protein in what we are eating," he said.
Noting that the countrys vast and diverse aquatic resources offer excellent opportunity for expansion of aquaculture food fish production, he, however, said reckless exploitation of limited resources, especially endangered marine species, must be strictly prevented.
He also said burning concerns of marine and fresh water pollution caused by discarded plastics and other waste and discharge of industrial chemicals needed to be addressed.
Sustainability and conservation must be the twin pillars on which fisheries sector in the country should be built, he said.
Expressing concern over increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases because of change in lifestyles, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for Fit India movement was very relevant.
We are not doing even minimum physical exercise. The Prime Minister also yesterday gave a call for Fit India.
Its very relevant, very useful and it should become a peoples movement, not a government activity," he added.