HYDERABAD: Pitching for a level playing field in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Indian Ocean for fishing tuna, Union Fisheries Department secretary Rajni Sekhri Sibal said the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), a global tuna management association, has to ensure that there is a level playing field between the developed and the developing nations.
The Indian EEZ spread in the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands comprises 30 per cent of the EEZ but only 1 per cent of the production of tuna fish, she said.
She was addressing representatives from 31 member-nations at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)’s 23rd session held in Hyderabad. Tuna market is doing well on a global level with the market reaching USD 11.38 billion in 2017.
It is projected to grow to 13.75 billion USD by 2023. Despite a huge coastline and the exclusive economic zones in the seas, the country is yet to tap the tuna opportunity.
India’s part continues to be negligible, despite IOTC nations contributing 20 per cent of global catch.
Apart from pushing equitable resources with IOTC, the Centre is also planning to table 3-4 bills to promote fisheries in EEZ.
Opportunities will also be created for states like Telangana which are inland in nature. “Focus will be on inland states for setting up processing plants, creating model feed farms,” added Sibal.