Aquaculture and fisheries in South Asia
Coastal aquaculture and marine fisheries are practiced in five countries – Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka of South Asia, all of which have abundant coastal areas with Bay of Bengal in the east and Arabian Sea in the west. In the past decade, small pelagics such as sardines and mackerel, coastal fishes and shrimps have been the major contributors to the increased production in the Indian Ocean, while catches of the tuna group have been steady at 1.6 to 1.8 million tonnes since 2012. Deep sea resources and tuna like fishes have a good potential for further growth. The inland fisheries have undergone a serious downfall with degradation of habitats. But with culture-based capture fisheries prevalent in the large extent of water spread areas in reservoirs, there is an enhanced production. Though freshwater aquaculture has picked up in the region with an exception in Maldives, perils of climate change in the form of extreme droughts in summer and floods during rains are affecting the very existence of the enterprise seriously. The present aquaculture production in South Asia is 10.2 m tonnes. In global farmed fish production, the major contributors are India ranking second and Bangladesh, in the fifth position. The sector provides livelihood for more than 35 million people in this region which is 57% of global employment generated in fisheries and aquaculture. Fish is contributing 17% of the global protein intake. South Asian countries are faring better with Maldives (72%) and Bangladesh (60%) as leading countries with high percentage on fish protein as a major share of consumed animal protein.
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