With reference to recent trends in fish production in India, which among the following is / are correct?
1. Inland fish production > Marine fish production
2. Growth in Inland fish production > Growth in marine fish production
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [C] Both 1 & 2

Fish production has increased from 41.57 lakh tonnes (24.47 lakh tonnes for marine and 17.10 lakh tonnes for inland fisheries) in 1991-92 to 82.90 lakh tonnes (32.20 lakh tonnes for marine and 50.70 lakh tonnes for inland fisheries) in 2010-11. Kindly note that over the period of time since 1991, India’s Inland Fish production has increased gradually. At present share of Inland fish production in India’s total fish production is more than marine.

From the above chart, all seems well in India’s fisheries sector because the overall fish output in the country is growing at a faster pace than foodgrains. But this growth is being chiefly sustained by inland aquaculture (fish farming). Please note that Fish catch (capture fisheries) from rivers and other open water bodies in the inland fisheries sector and from the oceans in the marine fisheries sector are either stagnant or declining.

Further, the output of marine fisheries used to be higher than that of inland fisheries historically. However, in 2000-01, inland fisheries overtook marine fisheries in terms of production and the trend has endured since then. The situation today is that the marine fisheries sector has virtually ceased to grow, even as inland fisheries continue to expand. As a result, while the out-turn of marine fisheries has remained static at less than three million tonnes for the past two decades, the inland sector has surged from three million tonnes to over 4.7 million tonnes. That is the reason that India has become the world’s second-largest producer of cultured fish after China.

The success of Freshwater aquaculture is because of the efforts done by the scientists for developing technologies for scientific aquaculture, and the efforts of the farmers for making full use of new techniques for producing bumper fish harvests. The adoption of scientific fish farming practices has led to  an over five-fold increase in the mean national fish productivity. The other factors helping the Inland aquaculture in India are the burgeoning consumer demand, convenient marketing and good returns.

Here, we must note that bulk of inland aquaculture production comprises three major Indian fishes viz. rohu, catla and mrigal. Thus, diversification is badly needed for efficient growth. There are a handful of farmers in the country who trying to experiment with exotic fishes such as silver carp, grass carp and common carp. There are efforts being done to diversify the species mix in freshwater aquaculture by introducing high-value catfish like magur and freshwater prawns.

In marine fisheries and capture fisheries, the growth has eluded because of many reasons. One reason is that the marine fishing activity remains confined to coastal waters, leaving most part of the sprawling exclusive economic zone – measuring 2.02 million sq km – under explored. The narrow coastal belt of around 50 metres from the seashore is being over-tapped by traditional fisherfolk, causing considerable depletion of fish stock. Though the Motorised fishing vessels, which can operate beyond this zone, now account for about 85 per cent of the total marine fish catch, yet deep-sea fishing activity remains rather low owing to the inadequacy of specialised deep-sea fishing vessels.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module