- Tufropes, on World Conservation Day is launching, ‘Responsible Fishing Initiative’, a program focussed on providing effective solutions to counter the bycatch problem persistent in the Indian fishing ecosystem and to generate awareness about the impact of bycatch amongst the fishing communities of India.
- Bycatch, which is fishing of non target and small and juvenile fishes, directly impacts the fishing ecosystem.
- Small and juvenile fishes killed as bycatch play a vital role in the ocean’s food web chain, allowing fish populations to regenerate. Without them, the food chain and coastal communities’ livelihoods are at risk, warn marine researchers.
- This will support the Government of India’s and Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)’s programs to reduce bycatch and promote sustainable fishing practices.
The fishing ecosystem of India is under tremendous pressure because of unsustainable fishing practises, rampant across the country. Plagued by overfishing, bycatch, depleting resources, decreasing population of fish, and the lack of urgency to deal with this crisis, India is looking at an unpredictable future of the fisheries industry. India has been experiencing a consistent decline in the coastal marine fish production over the last few years.
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) data reveals a 9% decline in overall fish catch in 2018 as compared to 2017
- Massive decline of 54% of Indian oil sardine (Sardinella longiceps) catch, a fish found abundantly in the Arabian Sea, particularly the coastal waters that cover Karnataka.
Bycatch is amongst the biggest threats to the fishing ecosystem. Bycatch is defined as unintentional fishing of non target species, and of small and juvenile fishes. Usually thrown away and sold as waste, bycatch roughly accounts for half of the catch yield caught by commercial fishing boats and trawlers.
The small and juvenile fishes killed as bycatch play a vital role in the ocean’s food web chain, allowing fish populations to regenerate. Without them, the food chain and coastal communities’ livelihoods are at risk, warn marine researchers.
Reducing bycatch is the key to conserve the fishing ecosystem. This can be done by replacing diamond codend fishing nets with square codend fishing nets. Small and juvenile fishes when caught in the fishing net can easily escape from square codends ensuring their survival, regeneration and a balanced fishing ecosystem.
On World Conservation Day, Tufropes has launched their social program, ‘Responsible Fishing Initiative’, which is dedicated towards providing effective solutions to counter the bycatch problem persistent in the Indian fishing ecosystem and to generate awareness about the impact of bycatch amongst the fishing community of India.
Under this initiative, Tufropes through various mediums will educate the fishing community about the sustainable effective solutions of reducing bycatch and bring awareness about the long term impact of bycatch on fisheries industry.
RFI will also sensitize the fish consumers through its digital communication about the evident threat to the fisheries sector, and generate awareness to proactively not purchase small or juvenile fishes from the market.
This initiative will support the Government of India’s and Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)’s existing programs across coastal states to encourage sustainable fishing. Network for Fish Quality Management & Sustainable Fishing (NETFISH) has already been working extensively to develop sustainable fishing practises amongst India Fishing communities.
Launched on World Conservation Day, Responsible Fishing Initiative aims to reach out to the fishing communities of Orissa, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Speaking at the launch, Saurabh Goel, director of Tufropes said, “Responsible Fishing Initiatives is one of our ambitious projects to generate awareness about unsustainable fishing practices. We launched it on World Conservation Day, as the main objective of the program is to conserve the fisheries ecosystem.”
“Fishing has always been a key sector for India, generating lakhs of employment and crores in revenue. Imagine, if we don’t act now and substantially reduce bycatch what will happen within the next decade? There would be no fishes in the sea.” he adds.