Action Plan for Tuna Fisheries in Andaman released

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Port Blair, Jan 7 (UNI) Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has released an action plan for development of Tuna Fisheries in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

''Tourism and Tuna, the two 'T's have the potentials of transforming Andaman's economy. Much have been talked about Tuna fishing in Andaman, but there has been very little action on ground,'' Jairam Ramesh said while releasing the action plan here yesterday.

Mr Ramesh said that an investment of nearly Rs 14 crore was required within next 18 months in these Islands to materialize this action plan.

''Out of this, nearly Rs five crore will be contributed by the MPEDA and as a display of our seriousness in this matter, the Rs five crore will be released immediately,'' Mr Ramesh added.

''According to MPEDA, Indian EEZ has a resource potential of 213,000 tonnes of Oceanic Tuna, of which the present exploitation is only around 50,000 tonnes,'' he informed.

''Exploitation of tuna resources is identified as one of the thrust areas for increasing export of Indian Marine products from the present level to 4 billion USD by 2012. Since the Andaman and Nicobar Islands encompasses 28 per cent of the total Indian EEZ and the current exploitation of oceanic resources from these island groups is negligible, it is proposed to develop the tuna fishing industry in a big way,'' G Mohan Kumar, Chairman, MPEDA, said while addressing the gathering.

Mr Kumar said that a stakeholder workshop on the development of tuna resources in the A&N Island was held here on July 6 last year to discuss various strategies to achieve this goal.

''Accordingly a road map for the development of Tuna Fisheries and expert of Tuna had been prepared. I hope that this would pave the way for an accelerated development of Tuna Industry in the A&N Islands,'' the MPEDA Chairman added.

While addressing the meeting, Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Bhopinder Singh expressed his gratitude towards MPEDA and the Minister of Commerce and said, ''Fishes in Andaman Sea die of old age. We require expertise to exploit the present potential. But at the same time I want that more and more local hands should get employment through this industry.'' In this connection, Member of Parliament Manoranjan Bhakta, who also attended the function, said, ''There is a need to train our own people and offer them greater employment opportunity in Tuna Fisheries.'' UNI SKR LL/RC1020

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