Fisheries are a chief source of protein and are an essential constituent of seafood. Consumption of lean fish muscle provides 18–25 percent protein by weight, the equivalent of beef or poultry but it is much lower in calories. In fish, one gram of protein constitutes 4-10 calories. In lean meats, it is 10–20 calories per gram. This has made the harvesting of fish an important trade worldwide.
Food is at the core of human existence. We obtain food from the plants, animals, and water bodies in the form of seafood. Seafood, edible aquatic animals and both freshwater and ocean creatures constitute 15% of the world population’s protein intake.
Fisheries can be defined as those geographical areas associated with a population of aquatic organisms harvested for their commercial or recreational value. In the simplest form, a fishery is a place where fishes are bred for commercial purposes. Some commercially important fishes are species of salmon, herring, codfish, flatfish, redfish, jack mackerel, tuna, sardine, carp, eel, trout, whitefish, pike, pike perch, and catfish, etc.
Types of Fisheries
The fishery is the industry concerned with the catching, processing, and selling of fish. There are two major types of fisheries: Inland fisheries and Marine fisheries.
Inland refers to the breeding of fishes in two types of water called the freshwater and the brackish water. Brackish water aquaculture in India has a long history of traditional practice. It concentrates around the giant tiger prawn as the single most important species.
On the other hand, the freshwater fishery has found references to fish culture in Kautilya’s Arthashastra (321–300 B.C). Also, carp culture forms the backbone to freshwater aquaculture practice in India. Some popular freshwater fishes include Rohu, Catla (Indian Carp), Tor Tor (Mahseer), Pulasa fish, etc. Moreover, sewage-fed fish culture is spreading roots in the Asian sub-continent.
Marine Fisheries refers to the capture as well as the culture of aquatic organisms in saltwater for the trade of the fishery products in the world markets. Indian peninsula consists of 9 maritime states as well as two island territories where maritime fisheries are active. It includes species of Finfishes, Penaeids, Cephalopods, etc.
Fishery industry in India is one of the largest industries constituting for ₹37,870.90 crore per year. Also, it provides employment to about 14 million people annually. About 8,129 kilometers of the Indian coastline covers the fishery industry. Such a multitude of resources contributes to over 1 percent of India’s annual gross domestic product.
Fisheries contribute to half of the supply of fishes consumed worldwide. However, the process has had its own disadvantages with severe effects on the surrounding environment. The antibiotics and chemicals used to treat fish can leach into the surrounding soil as well as waters, and poison agricultural land. Thus, the government takes special care to issue fishing licenses as the only permit to practice pisciculture in the area.