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Mains Answer Writing


Q1) Discuss the multifaceted significance of the fisheries sector and the challenges faced by it.

(250 Words/15 Marks)



Fisheries sector is an important source of food, nutrition, and livelihood in the country. Economically, it contributes more than 7% of the agriculture GDP and employs 4-5 crore people directly or indirectly.


The wide-ranging significance of fisheries is as discussed below:

  1. Nutrition Security:
  2. a) Fisheries provide a vital source of protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients, contributing to improved nutrition security and food security.

E.g., to enhance cognitive development in general.

  1. b) It enables a regional approach to combating malnutrition.

E.g., inclusion of fish or derived products in mid-day meals or PDS among coastal communities will strengthen accessibility.

  1. c) Promotion of fisheries sector is a nutrition-sensitive intervention for reinforcing the availability pillar of food security. Enhanced dietary diversity contributes to combating malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
  2. d) Fish is an accessible source of nutrition for the poor and marginalized communities, such as tribals. It can be part of adaptation measures in draught-affected regions with limited access to other sources of animal or plant-based protein.
  3. Livelihood Generation:
  4. a) The fisheries sector provides livelihood for 4-5 crore people. Small-scale artisanal fisheries provide support for marginalized and vulnerable communities. b) As an allied sector, it improves the viability of agriculture, especially in times of distress or as additional income.

E.g., fish farming in rural ponds.

  1. c) Fishing activities offer diverse range of vocational activities with varying levels of organization and formality, such as capture fishing, aquaculture, or as part of integrated farming.
  2. Economic Growth:
  3. a) The fisheries sector contributes to economic growth through various channels of revenue generation, including domestic consumption, exports, and fisheries-based eco-tourism.
  4. b) It creates forward- and backward-linkages amongst fishermen, farmers, food processing industries, traders, exporters etc.

E.g., cod liver oil.

  1. c) The sector stimulates ancillary industries such as boat manufacturing, gear production, ice factories etc., further supporting economic development.


Despite its importance, the fisheries sector faces several challenges, as discussed below:

  1. Overfishing: Resorting to unsustainable practices such as overexploitation of fishery resources, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, leads to depleting fish stocks and habitat destruction.

E.g., bottom sea trawling.

  1. Access to Technology: Many small-scale fishers lack access to modern fishing technologies, and equipment constraining their productivity and income potential.

E.g., under-developed deep-sea fishing in India.

  1. Poor Infrastructure: Inadequate cold storage facilities, processing units, and market linkages contribute to post-harvest losses which reduce profitability.
  2. Climate Change: Fisheries are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise. These changes affect fish distribution, reproduction, and overall productivity.
  3. Insufficient institutional support, including extension services, financial assistance, poor regulation, and training hinders the development and growth of the fisheries sector. 

E.g., fishermen issues between India and Sri Lanka due to inadequate regulation and poor information on viable fishing zones.


Given the wide-ranging significance of the fisheries sector, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana 2020-2025 is a step in the right direction. The challenges of fisheries must be addressed through sustainable fisheries management, conservation measures, capacity-building initiatives, and investments in infrastructure and technology. China’s model in mechanization of fishing vessels can provide valuable lessons for India as well.



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