Kolkata: Though India is considered to be the second largest fish producer in the world, it is still way behind its nearest competitor China, said a fisheries scientist.
"India is the second largest producer of freshwater fish in the world, but compared to China our fish production is only about ten per cent of that country," Pro Vice- Chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries & Ocean Studies Prof C Mohanakumaran Nair told PTI.
In 2012 China had produced 570 lakh MT of fish and marine algae, which was 63 per cent of its total aquaculture production, he said.
Excluding marine algae, China's production of food fish was 411.08 lakh MT, while India's had 42.09 lakh MT, just around ten per cent of it, Nair said.
He pointed out that Indian aquaculture was limited to a few species (less than 10) while in China more than 100 species were being commercially cultured.
Describing India as a "sleeping giant" because of its untapped fish production potential, the scientist said, "India's fish production has been showing a marginal increase every year. From 41.57 lakh tonnes in 1991-92 it has increased to 90.40 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.
"The marine fish capture has increased only by about 36 per cent while there was a 234 per cent rise in the inland fish production. This shows the potential for development in this sector. India is a sleeping giant," Nair said.
He also said the country lacked a general policy to utilise its water bodies for aquaculture and thus not utilising its potential properly.
"There is no general policy to utilise the public water bodies for aquaculture including the coastal areas around us," he said.
According to him, India's national policy should be focused on increasing production at all levels besides intensifying policy-based aquaculture activities.