BHUBANESWAR: With Odisha having greater potential for fishery activities, the State Government is mulling the possibility of setting up a separate university of fisheries to further the advancement in learning and research in fisheries and allied subjects.
The issue was discussed at a high level meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in the Secretariat here on Thursday.
Explaining the necessity of a dedicated university, Fisheries and Animal Resource Development (FARD) Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said currently, the State contributes to about five per cent of fish production in the country and about 17 per cent of the value of Indian maritime product export.
He said the State has 480 km of coastline along with 24,000 sq km of area within continental shelf. This provides better opportunity to produce professionally and technically competent manpower in fisheries and ocean studies, catering to the needs of the fast developing sector.
The fresh water resources are estimated around 6.79 lakh hectare (ha) comprising 1.28 lakh ha of ponds, two lakh ha of reservoirs, 1.80 lakh ha of lakes and swamps and 1.71 lakh ha of rivers and canals. Brackish water resources are around 4.18 lakh ha. With these resources, inland fishery and fresh water aquaculture can be taken to new heights through scientific fishery, Sethi added.
He further said the proposed university would cater to basic requirements like delivering professional courses, creating technical manpower, innovating technical know-how, skilling farmers through direct exposure and designing the best practices.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan advised the department to conceptualise the university as a thematic and outcome-oriented institution from the beginning instead of planning it as a generic and theoretical body. The proposed university should be a state-of-the-art institute focusing on direct linkage with farmers and field applications.
The Chief Secretary directed the department to focus on short and medium-term strategies for boosting farmers’ income in next three to five years. He also asked the department to develop inland fishery as another source of income for large number of farmers in rural areas.