A study by Indian industry organization ASSOCHAM (the associated chambers of commerce and industry of India) said fish production in West Bengal could reach 2 million metric tons by 2015.
Already the largest fish-producing state in the country, West Bengal currently produces around 1.8m tons.
This means it accounts for around 20% of India’s total production of over 9m tons, reports India Blooms.
The study, called ‘Fisheries- a prize catch in Indian export basket’, also suggested that fish production in India could hit the 13m ton mark by 2016.
“With appropriate incentives coupled with robust investments in infrastructure, fish production in India can grow at a compounded annual growth rate of about 7% during the course of next four-five years from the current level of over 3.5%,” said D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM.
“Similarly, proper storage, processing and marketing facilities together with well co-ordinated efforts for comprehensive development of fisheries sector and fishermen community would help increase fish production in West Bengal,” said Rawat.
Indian waters are home to over 1,700 species of fish including 200 which are commercially significant, he added.
India is also the second largest source of aquaculture in the world after China.
The overwhelming majority of Indian fish is consumed domestically, with less than a million tons being exported.
67% is consumed fresh due to low demand for value-added products, while processed and dried fish account for 16% and frozen for 7-10%.
ASSOCHAM put India’s total fishery exports at $3 billion, and expects them to reach $4.7bn by 2014.
The study advizes the Indian government to incentivize aquaculture in order to offset lower growth in marine fisheries, and to set up a dedicated ministry of fisheries to deal with the issues Indian fisheries face: multiple agencies, sluggish infrastructure and poor productivity.