The workshop was organised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and attended by 27 foreign and Indian experts including the authors of national level cost and earnings studies from the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, India, France, Norway, Germany as well as the experts who had undertaken the comparative analysis of all national level studies including those from South America, the Caribbean and Africa.
Among the Indian participants were senior representatives of the Indian fisheries administration, research, education, finance, fishermen organisations as well as of the fishing industry among them the Director-General of the Fishery Survey of India, the Director of the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, the long-time editor of the leading Indian fisheries journal, the former fisheries development commissioner and present BOBP co-ordinator, Dr. Yadava as well as senior representatives of the Marine Products Export Promotion Authority and the Central Institute of Fishing Technology.
The programme of the workshop and the list of participants are attached below as ANNEX II and III. The proceedings included presentations and discussions on Indian marine capture fisheries including resources, fishing technology, research, information and education, economic performance and subsidies and on traditional fishing communities.
During the opening ceremony, Mr. M. A. Upare, General Manager of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) of India, in-charge of fisheries finance in India, welcomed the workshop participants and drew their attention to the longstanding co-operation between NABARD and FAO in the promotion of sustainable fisheries development and related credit and investment facilities in India and other countries. He highlighted the important economic and nutritional role of fisheries in India and the role of NABARD in providing credit and investment support for the introduction of responsible and economically efficient fishing practices.
Mr. R. Baskaran, Joint Director of the Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD) briefed the workshop participants about the role of BIRD and its functioning, which included the design and implementation of customised training programmes, action oriented research, policy guidance for Government and financial institutions, organisation of seminars and conferences as well as publishing.
Mr. Kishanjit Basu, Director, BIRD delivered the keynote address. The speaker drew the attention of the audience to the problem of unsustainable yields and over-exploitation of fisheries resources in India and other parts of the world which were caused by the open access character of fisheries resources. He highlighted the need to change to sustainable fishing practices and levels of exploitation and stressed the role of NABARD in providing guidance and investment support. Mr. Basu also underlined the importance of involving local communities in fisheries management and development and the need for participatory approaches in the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
In his opening address, Mr. P. Rosenegger, FAO Representative in India, thanked NABARD and BIRD for having co-operated with FAO in the organisation of the workshop and complimented NABARD for the assistance the Bank has provided to the small-scale fisheries sector in India. Mr. Rosenegger expressed the hope that the discussions at the workshop and the findings of the studies would provide guidance to fishery industries, financial institutions and concerned Government authorities for the introduction of sustainable and economically efficient fishing practices. In this context, the speaker highlighted three main issues i.e. occupational diversification for coastal fishermen and creation of employment opportunities outside fisheries, increased emphasis on value-addition to make better use of existing resources and improving the capabilities of small and medium size fishing craft. The speaker also thanked the Indian Government authorities for their efforts in implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in India. The opening session concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Mr. P.S. Mohanan, Manager, BIRD.
The programme of the workshop contained a number of key presentations of fisheries and fisheries development in India. Dr. V.S. Somvanshi, Director-General, Fishery Survey of India, presented a paper on changes of fishing fleets and fishing technology in India. The speaker commenced with an overview of the development of bottom trawling in India, which had succeeded in harvesting demersal resources up to the depth of 300 m. This was followed by an overview of the development of pelagic fishing methods, which was characterised by the replacement of traditional Rampani nets through purse seines and boat seines and by the introduction of ring net fishing in Kerala.
The major technological changes in India's marine capture fisheries, which have led to higher productivity and expansion of fishing operations and better incomes of fishermen were identified by Dr. Somvanshi as use the of synthetic twines and ropes and durable floats and related changes in the design of gillnets, shore and boat seines, use of modern electronics in the form of echo-sounders, global positioning systems, radios, mobile phones etc. The speaker also observed that in some cases, the use of more efficient fishing technologies had led to the overexploitation of fisheries resources.
As far as the future is concerned, Dr. Somvanshi explained that emphasis was on introduction of resource specific fishing vessels of about 18 m length, which were capable of exploiting the more distant and deeper waters of the Indian EEZ as well as on upgrading of the efficiency of traditional small-scale fishing craft, among other things through further motorization. The speaker concluded his presentation by emphasising the need for manpower development and training to meet the challenges of sustainable and responsible fisheries development and to ensure the conservation of fish stocks.
Dr. S. Ayyapan, Director, Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), explained the structure of fisheries education and training in India at the various levels and the linkages with the fishery industry and fisheries research and administration. In addition to CIFE. which is a deemed university, there are 11 State Agricultural Universities and one Central Agricultural Universities where fisheries is taught and fisheries research is being conducted besides several other universities and colleges at state level. The speaker then elaborated on aspects related to course design, information technology, vocational training and linkages with fishery industry.
Concluding his presentation, the speaker identified the future priorities for fisheries education in India. These include the identification of manpower requirements of different sectors of the fishery industry with expected qualifications and specialisation, revision and updating of syllabi to meet the needs of capture fisheries and aquaculture industry and to incorporate latest development in information technology and biotechnology, improvement of co-operation and sharing of responsibilities between CIFE, fisheries institutes and colleges and greater emphasis on hands-on-training, business management, project planning and evaluation and social sciences.
Dr. Y.S. Yadava, former Fisheries Commissioner of India and Interim Co-ordinator of the Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) for Fisheries Management, gave an overview of the Bay of Bengal Programme, which had been operational since 1979 and promoted fisheries development and management in the countries bordering the Bay of Bengal. The speaker highlighted the focus of work and the main achievements of the three different phases of the programme, which had paid attention to the various technological, biological, economic, social and management aspects of small-scale fisheries development.
The BOBP had made a tangible impact on improving fishing and fish culture practices and also promoted the access of traditional fishing communities to institutional credit and promoted the empowerment of women in fishing communities. It also had generated a wealth of information on all aspects of small-scale fisheries in the region, which could be tapped for future development and management purposes and activities. Concluding his presentation, Dr. Yadava explained that the Bay of Bengal Programme was presently being converted to an Intergovernmental Organisation, which would continue to promote and facilitate fisheries development and management in the region.
Other key presentations from India included a presentation by J.V.H. Dixitulu, editor of Fishing Chimes, the role of scientific and technical information in fishery industry development, a presentation by Prof. Lata Shenoy, Senior Scientist, Central Institute of Fisheries Education on economic incentives and subsidies in marine capture fisheries in India, and a paper on population and development dynamics of rural fishing communities by Ms Suchitra Upare, Assistant Professor, Konkan Agricultural University.
The core programme of the workshop focussed on presentation and discussion of the findings of the recently completed global FAO study on the economic performance of the marine capture fisheries and on the changes which have taken place since the previous studies were carried out. One presentation summarised the findings of the comparative analysis of the cost structure of marine capture fisheries in different countries and different fisheries and another presentation summarised the findings of the comparative analysis of the economic and financial performance. In addition, specific country reports were presented on France, Germany, Norway, India, Thailand, Republic of Korea and the Peoples Republic of China.
Two presentations by FAO experts highlighted specific analytical aspects of the study.
Mr. J. Prado, FAO fishing technologist, focussed on methodological aspects of fishing fleet analysis and indicators for sustainable fishing practices and Dr. E. Ruckes, senior FAO fish utilisation and marketing expert elaborated on value addition and economic benefits of fish utilisation.
The final two days of the workshop were spent in working groups. Four working groups were formed which undertook the following work:
Group 1: analysis of empirical data on the impact of cost reducing and revenue enhancing Government financial transfers on the economic and financial performance of fishing fleets
Group 2: identification of development priorities and assistance needs for strengthening of fish capture, culture, processing and marketing in India
Group 3: formulation of recommendations on utilisation of catch /value addition with regard to economic/financial performance of fishing fleets
Group 4: consideration of technological and operational features of fishing fleets
Regarding development priorities and assistance needs for strengthening of fish capture, culture, processing and marketing in India the following recommendations were endorsed in plenary as follows.
16 For a summary of the proceedings of the inter-regional workshop on the techno-economic performance of marine capture fisheries and the role of economic incentives, value-addition and changes of fleet structure see also Fishing Chimes, Volume 21, No. 2, May 2001, India.