Visakhapatnam: Fishing resources are becoming scarce in shallow waters of the seas. A team of scientists from Vizag-based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) had embarked on finding resources as deep as 1,000 mts under the seas and were successful.
During the arduous studies that were embarked in 2012 by going on multiple voyages on research vessel Sagara Sampada, these scientists, have identified a total of 155 unexplored species belonging to 88 families from the depths ranging from 300-1100 mt on the east coast.
Until now, fishing was done only till the depth of 150 mts and none knew about the availability of resources and the variety under the oceans. Even in the shallow waters, of 150 mt depth, very limited variety of 20 species is caught. Besides local consumption, seafood has export market and brings foreign exchange. In 2014-15, all India seafood exports stood at Rs 33,441crore.
Worldwide coastal fisheries are in deep crisis due to over fishing. This threatens the world’s food security especially the animal protein supply, in developing countries. The deep sea environment is dark and cold. Deep sea fishing is well flourished in developed countries and continents like Europe, Soviet, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. “Until the last few decades, there has been little activity or interest in deeper waters in India, apart from the occasional ventures by Indian scientists. This has prompted us to venture into the seas especially on the east coast to identify the deep sea resources,” said CIFT’s principal scientist, Dr U. Sreedhar who led the study team.
The study, Assessment of Demersal Fishery Resources along the Continental slope area of the Indian EEZ and the Central Indian Oceans with principal investigator as Dr U. Sreedhar, that began in 2012 will end in 2017. The present marine fish exploitation from Indian EEZ is three million tonnes out of the total estimated harvestable potential of 3.9 million tonne. This is totally from inshore waters. The remaining potential of about 0.92 million tonne, largely in the deep seas and oceanic region, remained untapped.
“Real time data on the deep sea resources from distant waters and high seas is not available until now. Now this data can be used for evolving suitable fishing techniques for their exploitation and utilisation.
Lack of adequate info on availability of fish and extent of commercial exploitation of conventional and non-conventional resources beyond the present fishing grounds has been a major constraint for the development of deep sea fishing in Indian waters” Dr Sreedhar added.