India’s estimated marine resources potential is 3.9 million tonne. During 1998, the marine fish catch was 2.95 million tonne, with over 70% coming from the west coast. There were 220 903 traditional craft, 39444 traditional motorized craft and 51 744 mechanized boats operating in Indian waters. There are nearly 6 million fishermen in the country, of which 2.4 million are full-time, 1.45 million part time and the rest occasional. They use a wide range of fishing gear, including seines, stake nets, lines, bag nets, encircling nets and lift nets.
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During 1987-97, there was a gradual increase in fish production, growing 44.1% in the ten-year period, of which pelagic species contributed 51.6%, the rest being demersal species. Among the species caught, Indian oil sardine (Sardinella longiceps), Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta) and Sciaenidae are dominant. Bombay duck, anchovies, cephalopods, perches and Carangidae are also abundantly seen. Marine shrimp, although contributing only 10% of the total catch, is still commercially a most important one. Indian Fisheries often fluctuate, and depend largely on the vagaries of the monsoons. Conservation measures have been adopted in both the east and west.
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coasts by enforcing closed seasons during the breeding seasons of important species.
There have been significant inputs to marine fisheries development in recent years. Plans have been approved for 6 major and 45 minor fishery harbours and 158 modern Fish Landing Centres (FLCs), of which the 6 major harbours have been completed, together with 30 minor fishing harbours and 130 FLCs. In order to improve the marketing of fresh fish internally, a number of cold storage, ice plants and cold chains have also been established. Export trade is completely in the hands of the private sector.
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