Blue Revolution in India

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : April 1st, 2020

The rapid increase in the production of fish and marine products with the help of various set of programs is known as the Blue Revolution. It is part of the Govt. efforts to promote fishing as an allied activity for farmers to double their incomes. It refers to a period of intense growth of worldwide aquaculture industry from the mid-1960s to the present day. Currently, the aquaculture industry is growing at an average rate of 9 per cent per year and India is one of the fastest growers in the world. It first began in China who accounts for around two-thirds of the total aquaculture production in the world by weight and roughly 50 % by market value. Asian countries contribute over 90% to aquaculture worldwide in which China itself contributes more than 70%.

Blue Revolution in India: Background; Objectives; Fisheries Sector in India; Challenges; Government steps; Way Forward


  • In India, the first blue revolution was launched during the seventh five-year plan which was from 1985 to 1990. The government established the Fish farmers development agency.
  • Fish farmers development agency improve the aquaculture in India by adopting new techniques of fish breeding, rearing, marketing and export.
  • Intensive Marine Fisheries programme was launched during the eighth five-year plan which was from 1992 to 1997,  in which collaboration with multinational companies was encouraged over the period of time.
  • Fishing harbours were established in Vishakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair.
  • A number of research centres have been set up to increase the production and improvement in species.
  • After the formation of a new government in 2014, the initiative once again picked up the pace and transform the sector with increased investment, better training and infrastructure.

Objectives of the Blue Revolution:

  • Doubling the income of fishers and fish farmers with special emphasis on increasing productivity and better post-harvest marketing infrastructure
  • To Ensure inclusive participation of fishers and fish farmers in the income enhancement.
  • To Promote e-commerce and other technologies In the fisheries sector.
  • Tripling export earnings from the fisheries and related sector by 2020 with a focus on benefits flow fish farmers.
  • Enhancing food and nutritional security of the country.
  • Full utilisation of the total fish potential of the country both in inland and marine sector and triple production by 2020.
  • Transforming the fisheries sector as a modern industry with a focus on including global best practices.

 India’s Potential:

  • India has an 8,118 km long coastline which makes it well-positioned to have a Blue Revolution.
  • There is a large number of water bodies such as ponds & tanks, wetlands, brackish water, cold water, lakes & reservoirs, rivers and canals in India.
  • The largest species of fish are found in India
  • There is a huge scope for the breeding of colourful ornamental fish in India.

Fisheries Sector in India:

  • India recorded an average annual growth of over 14.8 percent in the production of fish and fish products in the last decade compared to the 5% global average in the same period.
  • The fisheries and related product industry are expanding at a rate of 6 percent annually and India has huge potential to meet this ever-increasing demand.
  • Fisheries and aquaculture production contribute to 1% of India’s GDP and over 5% of the agricultural GDP.
  • India has a marine Fisher population of 3.5 million and over 10.5 million people are engaged in inland fishery and fish farming.
  • India is the second-largest fish producer country in the world with exports worth more than 47,000 crore rupees.
  • India is only behind China in aquaculture production, which has an annual production of 60 million tones.
  • Fisheries is the single largest agriculture export in India with a growth rate of 6 to 10 percent in the last five years.
  • Currently, USA is the largest market for Indian seafood products followed by South East Asian Countries and the European Union Nations.

Success Stories in the Various States:

  • Cage fisheries in large reservoirs seem to yield good results in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. Cage aquaculture involves the growing of fishes in existing water resources while being enclosed in a net cage that allows free flow of water.
  • Gujarat shifted its focus from cooperatives for the lease of ponds and tanks to a public auction and changed the tenure of the lease from a single year to more than one This shift created a huge incentive to the entrepreneurs to engage in fisheries sector which in turn increased the production.
  • Private entrepreneurs started to strengthen the ponds, replenished water when it started drying up and spent money on protection against poachers.
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  • Major Concern over the stagnation of production of marine fisheries.
  • Lack of resources such as availability of spawn, seedlings and fingerlings on time.
  • lack of formal working capital for funding smooth and efficient fisheries.
  • Challenges regarding environmental threats, disease risks and trade barriers.
  • Technical issues such as availability of necessary feed and medicines for the fisheries sector
  • The issue regarding ponds and tanks in most parts of the mainland in India as these are typically multiple-use waterbodies which make them unreliable for fish production unless they are managed well.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that nearly 90% of the global marine fish stocks have either been fully exploited or depleted to an extent that recovery may not be possible biologically.
  • Discharge of harmful substances like plastics and other waste into the water bodies cause devastating consequences for aquatic life.

Steps Taken By the Government:

  1. Govt proposes to raise fishery exports to Rs 1 lakh crore by FY25 in the recent Budget (2020-21) and will involve youth in fishery extension through 3477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations (Fish FPOs)
  2. The Government has constituted an independent Ministry for Fisheries to raise seafood output and exports and to promote sustainable aquaculture. In the budget 2019-20, the government allocated approx 3,737 crore rupees for the newly carved out Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
  3. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
    • It aims to make India a hotspot for fish and aquatic products through appropriate policy marketing and infrastructure support.
    • It intends to bring all fishermen under the ambit of farmer welfare programs.
    • It is introduced under the newly established department of fisheries announced by the government.
    • Its aim is to increase fish production to achieve its target of 15 million tonnes by 2020under the blue revolution and raise it thereafter to about 20 million tonnes by 2020 to 2023.
  4. Blue Revolution 2.0/ Neel Kranti Mission
    • A major focus of the Blue Revolution 2.0 is on the development and management of the fisheries sector in India.
    • It will cover inland fisheries, aquaculture and marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mariculture and all such activities which are undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board.
  5. National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
    • It was established in 2006 as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
    • Its function is to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner. Now it works under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
    • Its aim is to achieve economic prosperity of fishers and fish farmer by developing fisheries in a sustainable manner keeping in view biosecurity and environmental concerns.
  6. Initiative Taken under the MGNREGA scheme
    • The government under MGNREGA has started to develop the farm ponds where pisciculture is taking place.

Way Forward:

  • Deep-sea fishing will require large investments and the govt have to explore possibilities of public-private partnership.
  • Fisheries sector can be used for ensuring food security and poverty alleviation.
  • Enabling working capital supply and well designed intelligent lease agreements.
  • Marine capture fisheries should be exploited more in the country because of its huge potential.

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