July 10, celebrated every year as the National Fish Farmers Day, is an occasion to recognise the contributions of people associated with aquaculture, including fishermen, fish farmers, fisheries scientists, and other stakeholders.
Incidentally, the day also marks the observance of the National Fisheries Development Board’s Foundation Day. The NFDB was established in 2006 as an autonomous organisation under the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
The first Fish Farmers Day was observed in 2001 by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)-Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), a premier institute of Fisheries Education in India based in Mumbai.
The day honours and commemorates the contribution of Professor Dr Hiralal Chaudhury and his colleague Dr KH Alikunhi to the fisheries sector in the country.
In 1957, on this day, they introduced breeding and reproduction in Indian Major Carps (common name for several species of fish) by what is called the Hypophysation (technology of induced breeding) method. This first-ever successful induced breeding was accomplished at the Angul fish farm in Odisha.
The event was heralded as a landmark achievement in development of fisheries and aquaculture in India and eventually led to a revolution in Inland aquaculture.
The Odisha Government has since developed its fish farm at the Narayan Sagar in Angul district into a heritage site under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) assistance.
This year, the National Fish Farmer Day meet was held at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, where participants deliberated on the future of the fisheries sector, keeping the welfare of fishers, fish farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs at its core.
The platform offered policymakers to create an ecosystem for the leadership from various states across the country. Discussions revolved around policies and reforms to resolve challenges at both national and local levels.
On the occasion, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying Parshottam Rupala virtually Inaugurated 176 fisheries projects covering 20 states and UTs across the country. The total worth of the projects is around Rs 138.13 crore. This is supported by the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme of the Department of Fisheries.
These projects would impact around 15,000 fishers and fish farmers at grassroot levels, covering 20 states and UTs.
The minister, along with other dignitaries, interacted with the stakeholders present. The participants shared their on-field experiences and highlighted issues they face in the profession. Among the dignitaries were Ministers of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and L Murugan with top officials of concerned departments and state representatives.
The event also witnessed around 12 exceptional start-ups from across the country showcase their best innovations in aquaculture. Overall, it was a significant event as fish is one of the healthiest options to mitigate hunger and nutrient deficiency.
Food security impact
The observance of the National Fish Farmer Day helps in raising awareness about the significance of aquaculture and its impact on food security. Moreover, the event provides a platform for fish farmers to support in transforming the fisheries value chain for overall development of the Indian fisheries sector.
It also strengthens the development of the sector in a sustainable, responsible, exclusive, and equitable manner. At the same time, the platform helps educate the common man about the challenges, the innovations, and sustainable practices employed by fish farmers.