Kochi : A meeting was held here on Saturday at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) to draft the national mariculture policy with an objective to assist traditional fishermen and their cooperative societies.
The proposed draft also seeks to demarcate some specific zones in the sea for various mariculture activities.
A. Gopalakrishnan, Director of CMFRI and Chairman of the committee which formulated the draft policy said the country requires five million tonnes from mariculture production alone to meet the food demand in 2050.
"A national-level policy is the need of the hour to promote mariculture enterprises in the country. Mariculture is a better alternative to increase marine food production and to improve the living standards of fishermen. A systematic mariculture practice is required to realise these goals," he said.
He also refuted remarks that the mariculture policy was meant for wooing corporates and other industrial giants into open sea farming.
Mariculture activities included cage fish farming, bivalve farming, pen culture, seaweed culture, hatcheries and nurseries based on scientific criteria.
The meet was attended by representatives of fishermen, boat owners, fish farmers, seafood exporters and hatchery entrepreneurs in Kerala along with marine scientists and state fisheries department officials.
"The draft mariculture policy will see that mariculture should be seen on par with agriculture for enjoying all financial benefits from government and banking sectors," Gopalakrishnan said.
In addition, stringent measures will be incorporated in the draft policy to protect marine ecology.
The meeting suggested that state governments should be asked to take measures to curb all kinds of organic pollution emanating from cage fish farming in open sea water.