Fisheries is an important sector in India--it provides...

employment to millions of people and contributes to food security of the country. With a coastline of over 8,000 km, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over 2 million sq km,

Fisheries is an important sector in India--it provides employment to millions of people and contributes to food security of the country. With a coastline of over 8,000 km, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over 2 million sq km, and with extensive freshwater resources, fisheries play a vital role. Presently, fisheries and aquaculture contribute 1.07 per cent to the national GDP, and 5.30 per cent to agriculture and allied activities, while the average annual value of output during the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) was Rs31,682.50 crores.

Marine Fisheries contributes to food security and provides direct employment to over 1.5 mn fisher people besides others indirectly dependent on the sector. 

According to the CMFRI Census 2010, there are 3,288 marine fishing villages and 1,511 marine fish landing centres in 9 maritime states and 2 union territories. The total marine fisherfolk population was about 4 million comprising in 864,550 families. Nearly 61% of the fishermen families were under BPL category. The average family size was 4.63 and the overall sex ratio was 928 females per 1000 males. Almost 58% of the fisherfolk were educated with different levels of education. About 38% marine fisherfolk were engaged in active fishing with 85% of them having full time engagement. About 63.6% of the fisherfolk were engaged in fishing and allied activities. Nearly 57% of the fisherfolk engaged in fish seed collection were females and 43% were males. Among the marine fishermen households nearly 76% were Hindus, 15% were Christians and 9% were Muslims. The overall percentage of SC/ST among the marine fishermen households was17%.

The Indian coastline can be delineated into 22 zones, based on the ecosystem structure and functions. The Indian boat type ranges from the traditional catamarans, masula boats, plank-built boats, dug out canoes, machwas, dhonis to the present day motorized fibre-glass boats, mechanized trawlers and gillnetters. In the marine fisheries sector, there were 194,490 crafts in the fishery out of which 37% were mechanized, 37% were motorized and 26% were non-motorized. Out of a total of 167,957 crafts fully owned by fisherfolk 53% were non-motorized, 24% were motorized and 23% were mechanized. Among the mechanized crafts fully owned by fishermen, 29% were trawlers, 43% were gillnetters and 19% were dolnetters.

India's marine capture fish production ,increased from 520,000 tonnes in 1950 to 3.15 million tonnes in 2007. The bulk of the catch comprises oil sardines, followed by penaeid and non-penaeid shrimp, Indian mackerel, Bombay duck, croakers, smaller quantities of cephalopods, other sardines and threadfin breams.(CMFRI 2008).

Source: FISHSTAT, FAO (2010)

Inland Fisheries
India’s freshwater resources consists of rivers and canals (197,024 km), reservoirs (3.15 million ha), ponds and tanks (235 million ha), oxbow lakes and derelict waters (1.3 million ha), brackishwaters (1.24 million ha) and estuaries (0.29 million ha). The inland capture fish production has increased from 192,000 tonnes in 1950 to 781,846 tonnes in 2007, the major species being cyprinids, siluroids and murrels.

This website provides brief information on fishing communities and fisheries in India, as well as a compilation of important resources from various ICSF publications and other sources.

Important resources

Latest Government reports and statistics

  • Government of India. 2011. Report of the Working Group for Revalidating the Potential of Fishery Resources in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone. New Delhi. DAHDF. 
  • Government of India.2011. Report of the Working Group on Fisheries, for the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017). New Delhi. Planning Commission. 2011. Download
  • Government of India. 2006. Report of the Working Group on Fisheries, for the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012). New Delhi. Planning Commission. 2006. Download
  • Government of India. 2009. Annual report of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries. New Delhi. Download
  • Government of India. 2006. Annual report of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries. New Delhi. Download
  • Government of India. 2007. Handbook on fisheries statistics. New Delhi, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture.
  • CMFRI. 2011. Annual report 2009-2010. Kochi. CMFRI. Download
  • CMFRI. 2008. Annual report 2007-2008. Kochi CMFRI. Download
  • CMFRI. 2008. CMFRI research highlights 2007-2008. Kochi, CMFRI. Download
  • CMFRI. 2006. National marine fisheries census 2005. Volume I, New Delhi, Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Fishery Survey of India (FSI). 2009. Marine fish production 2007-2008. Download
  • Fishery Survey of India (FSI). 2006. National marine fisheries census 2005: Union territories of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
  • FAO. 2008. FAO Fisheries Department, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit. FISHSTAT Plus. Universal software for fishery statistical time series. Version 2.3. 2000. Download
  • MPEDA. 2009. Exports of marine products from India 2008-09. Download
  • Government of India. 2009. Centrally sponsored schemes of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture. Download
  • Government of India. 2010. Mid-term appraisal for Eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-2012. Planning Commission. Download
  • Government of Kerala. 2009. Kerala Marine Fisheries Statistics. Download
  • Government of Kerala. 2009. Kerosene permit issued to fishing engine. Download
  • CMFRI. 2009. Fishwatch: Daily landings and price range at selected harbours by CMFRI
  • CMFRI. 2009. Estimated marine fish landing of India (1996-2006)

Other reports and documents

  • Bhathal, B and D. Pauly. 2008. 'Fishing down marine food webs' and spatial expansion of coastal fisheries in India, 1950-2000. Fisheries Research. Vol. 91. No.1. pp.26-34.
  • Bhathal,B. 2005. Historical reconstruction of Indian marine fisheries catches, 1950-2000, as a basis for testing the 'Marine Trophic Index'. Fisheries Centre Research Report 13 (5), 122p. Download.
  • Devraj.M and E.Vivekanandan. 1999. Marine capture fisheries of India: Challenges and opportunities. Current Science. Vol. 76. No.3. 10 February 1999. Download

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