The Department of Fisheries has sanctioned 732 artificial reef units for 10 coastal states under "Integrated Modern Coastal Fishing Villages" of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
- The projects are being implemented with the technical support of the Fishery Survey of India (FSI) and ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
- All the states have completed their site selection process, while the states of Kerala and Maharashtra have completed the tendering process for the execution of work. Thus, all projects are expected to be completed by January 2024.
- As an impactful strategy, installing artificial reefs in coastal waters and undertaking sea ranching programs across all coastal states is expected to rejuvenate coastal fisheries and rebuild fish stocks.
ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
- The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute was established by the Government of India in 1947.
- It operated under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and became a part of the ICAR in 1967.
- It is located in Kochi, Kerala.
What are Artificial reefs?
Artificial reefs are engineering technology interventions used to rehabilitate and improve natural habitats, increase productivity and manage aquatic resources, including habitat enhancement.
- Advantages: Similar to natural reefs like coral reefs, ARs are used for aggregating fish and provide a home for fish to live and grow, reduce wave damage on coasts, help regeneration of marine ecosystems and act as a carbon sink.
- As per CMFRI, a two to three-fold increase in catch rates and efficiency can be realized, Thus saving fuel and energy costs and increasing income.
- They provide favourable conditions for sea ranching and serve as spawning and nursery grounds for fish.
- Enhance recreational fisheries, snorkelling, eco-tourism, creating suitable areas for diving and reducing conflicts.
- Artificial reef structures restrict bottom trawling in the near shore areas, thus helping the marine environment to regenerate and small-scale fishers get higher catches.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
The Government of India's Department of Fisheries, under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, is implementing Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana.
- It aims to bring about ecologically healthy, economically viable, and socially inclusive development of the Fisheries sector of India.
- In May 2020, the PMMSY was introduced with a record-breaking investment of Rs. 20,050 crore. Its primary goal is to promote the Blue Revolution by fostering sustainable and responsible development of the fishing industry.
- The PMMSY will be implemented in all states and union territories for five years, from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
- The PMMSY program has been created to tackle important issues within the fisheries industry, such as improving fish production, productivity, and quality. It also focuses on enhancing technology, post-harvest infrastructure, and marketing.
- The goal is to modernize and strengthen the value chain, improve traceability, and establish a strong fisheries management framework. At the same time, the program aims to protect the socio-economic welfare of fishers and fish farmers.
NOTE: ‘Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries' Foreseeing high potential, the Hon’ble Prime Minister has called for “a revolution” in the fisheries sector and has named it as “Blue Revolution”. The Blue Revolution, with its multi-dimensional activities, focuses mainly on increasing fisheries production and productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources, both inland and marine.
About Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are fascinating ecosystems. Coral is a type of colonial animal that is related to hydroids, jellyfish, and sea anemones.
- Stony corals, which are characterized by their hard skeleton, serve as the foundation of the reef. These corals are made up of hundreds of thousands of individual living polyps, which can draw dissolved calcium from seawater and use it to create a solid mineral structure for skeletal support.
- Interestingly, only the thin layer on the surface of a coral colony is considered live coral, while the mass beneath is made up of a calcium carbonate skeleton that can be decades old.
- Reef-building coral polyps contain microscopic algae called zooxanthellae, which live in a symbiotic relationship with the animal.
- The coral polyps provide the algae with a home, and in exchange, the algae provide the polyps with food generated through photosynthesis.
- Since photosynthesis requires sunlight, most reef-building corals inhabit clear, shallow waters that allow sunlight to penetrate. Additionally, the algae give coral its color since coral polyps are transparent, meaning that the color of the algae inside the polyps is visible.
- Coral reefs are present in the areas of Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep Islands and Malvan.
- The Great Barrier Reef located in Western Australia is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.