Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Odisha's economy continues to be on a high growth trajectory and the scope for increasing sea food exports from the State appears to be very bright in the coming years.

The total quantity of marine products exported during 2014-15 was 34,767 MTs worth Rs 2069 crore. This shows a growth of 450% over the export of 2000-2001 (Rs 379 crore).

Odisha is one of the major maritime states offering vast scope for development of inland and brackish water and marine fisheries. The State's 480 km-long coastline with 24,000 sq km area within the continental shelf has ample potential for marine fisheries development. Freshwater resources of the State are estimated to be 6.76 lakh hectares comprising 1.25 lakh hectares of tanks/ponds, 2 lakh hectares of reservoirs, 1.80 lakh hectares of lakes, swamps and bheels and 1.71 lakh hectares of rivers and canals. The State's brackish water resources are of the order of 4.18 lakh hectares with a break up of 0.79 lakh hectares of Chilika Lake, 2.98 lakh hectares of estuaries, 32,587 hectares of brackish water area and 8,100 hectares of backwaters.

The Fisheries & Animal Resources Development (F&ARD) department has a vision to increase the exports to Rs 20,000 crores per annum in the coming five years. The State has 24,031 hectares of suitable brackish water government land which can be utilized for L. Vannamei Culture. As L. Vannamei has high potential for export, the government plans to provide suitable land for brackish water aquaculture to beneficiaries of antipoverty programme, persons under BPL category, fishermen by profession or by caste, landless persons, marginal farmers, educated unemployed persons, SHG, Primary Fisheries Cooperative Societies, women cooperatives, who are eligible up to five hectares land and partnership farms, technical entrepreneurs state owned corporations and exporters who are entitled up to 10 hectares and even more.

The brackish water land leasing principles are in place and there is provision for giving preference to the existing farmers, technically qualified persons and trained as well as experienced persons. By harnessing the brackish water resources through leasing, the department has plans to enhance shrimp production to 3 lakh metric tonne in next five years. To cope up with the increased production, infrastructures like ice plant, processing plant, refrigerated transportation vehicle, laboratories, equipment and machinery for culture activities, feed plant, road network, electric connectivity to clusters will be required in addition to road connective to shrimp clusters. The Jagatjore­ Banapada shrimp culture project has been leased out to a private company for taking up Vannamei culture extensively. This will also help in increasing the export and employment generation.

The department has recently entered into a technical collaboration with WorldFish to adopt best management practices for increasing productivity in the existing water bodies. The state has a target to double the fish production in next 5 years and as the pioneer State in the country, it has already notified , Odisha Fisheries Policy, 2015.

To achieve this goal, the state government has filled up 123 posts of Assistant Fisheries Officers and 112 posts of Junior Fisheries Technical Assistants while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today distributed appointment orders to 22 Assistant Fisheries Officers and 94 Junior Fisheries Technical Assistants to take the mission forward.