November 21, every year around the globe is marked as a day to celebrate the #WorldFisheriesDay. The community celebrates through rallies, public meetings, workshops, dramas, cultural programs, exhibitions, music etc. Through these demonstrations, the fisherfolk community highlights the importance of water to human life as well as the lives both in and out of water that it sustains. But one may ask ‘Why World Fisheries Day?’
The foundation and origin of World Fisheries Day is actually associated with the founding of the WFF (i.e.World Fisheries Forum), which is an international fishermen’s organization. Entrenched in 1997, World Fisheries Forum was founded on the common principles of social justice, sustaining fishing communities, sustaining the fisheries, as well as preserving the cultural history of fish harvesters and fish workers.
Each year, the World Fisheries Day is a moment to echo on the ever-growing knowledge of coastal communities, fishing, fishers, and the status of the oceans as well as the fish stocks. For fisherfolk, this is yet another way to focus on the issues being faced by the sector and sending an intimation about the value of their work. For the remaining people, it is just another day to celebrate our oceans along with the people whose livelihoods depend on it. People participate in the events linked to the World Fisheries Day and display their support to fishers. They also promote sustainable fisheries and viable communities.
Fisheries: The Way Ahead With Sustainable Development.
As we are all aware that fishes constitute nearly 2/3rd of our aquatic ecosystem. Fisheries provide livelihoods, recreation, nutritious food etc. and plays a pivotal role in the development as well as poverty reduction. But it is evident that we have not been able to extract this domain completely. In most parts of the world, fish stocks are under pressure, as captured fish stock is not able to meet the ever-increasing demand for shell-fish as well as sea water/lake fish.
There is a need for responsible as well as profitable aquaculture and the changes are needed urgently so as a strike a balance both socio-economically as well as ecologically. The question now is that how can the unsatisfying status of multiple valuable fish stock around the globe be enhanced and upgraded? How can this sector in the under-developed, developing as well as developed countries contribute to sustainable development?
Are There Courses Available in Fisheries and Aquaculture in India?
The College of Fisheries, Mangalore, Karnataka http://cofm.edu.in/. States are faces the issue of extinction of local breeds of fish stock and depletion in ingenious varities, in a large scale due to pollution, climate change, eutrophication. All these are influencing our aquatic environment. Today, we need the following changes:
Training Junior Intermediate as well as senior Fisheries Personnel for Inland Fisheries development both through short as well as long-term formal Education;
Training as well as retraining middle-level Manpower especially in Aquaculture Technology
Encouraging Women participation in Fisheries through post-harvest technology
Train Food technicians, Technologists and Chemical analysts
Training Agricultural Extension Technicians for carrying out extension work among rural farmers and Fisher Folks
The hazards to our biological diversity in international waters have been widely recognized during the past few years. The effects on fish stocks and enthic flora and fauna (i.e. ecosystems) can be destructive. The Ministry Of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Office http://dahd.nic.in/ states that awareness about the diverse and complex deep-sea ecological community has increased expeditiously. Species variety turns up to be specifically high at underwater seamounts, where fishes are specifically high. Such seamounts, usually formed from extinct volcanoes, are found at depths between 1,000 and 4,000 metres and are defined in a fashion that they rise over 1,000 metres above the bottom. It has been predicted that about 30,000 seamounts exist around the globe, but the knowledge of these ecosystems remains limited. However, the more we learn about these largely unknown ecosystems, the more we tend to understand their sensitivity, richness, and uniqueness. New species are continuously identified, many of which are native to a limited area.
The Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New-Bussa (FCFFT) http://www.fcfft-newbussa.edu.ng/index.php , Nigeria quotes that trends in catches of commercial species at seamounts often display an arduous rise at the onset of fisheries, followed by an accelerated decline. These boom and bust fisheries typically only last between five and ten years before they actually break down. A recent study of the high seas bottom-trawling fleet displays that the value of the catches only correlates to the monetary gain from around 300 vessels, where only about 100–200 are active full-time. The enthusiasm of these fishermen is hence impacting on the possibly large values of ecosystem services that are being adrift due to the demolition of deep-sea dwellings.
Along with bottom-trawling and the more common problem of bycatches, there are a number of other harmful fishing methods too. Fishing with cyanide or dynamite are efficient (but in principle illegal) methods to catch fish in the proximity of coral reefs, but these methods are leading to inevitable destruction to the coral ecosystems that nurse fish populations. Still, when the charge of dynamite is around USD 1–2 but the profit is equal to USD 15–40, the motivation is fairly obvious. In spite of the short-term prospects for ample gains, the long-term loss has to be considerably higher. Negative effects of dynamite fishing are estimated to cost at least USD 3 billion in the coming 20 years, on the other hand, the predicted costs for cyanide fishing is around USD 50 million. A profit of USD 320 million could easily be generated through sustainable fishing using hook and line.
In order to reimburse for the lost production potential in the seas arising from these, aquaculture production and other factors, has expanded, which has to lead to further degradation of ecosystem services. We are now, however, beginning to comprehend the extent of human influence, which has not only led to an increased public awareness but also a political inclination to begin dealing with the troubles. But much work still remains to be done – prosperous restoration of many of the dangerously changed aquatic ecosystems is not probable in the near future.
The youth today can definitely see fisheries as a viable career option. Something that satisfies their love for the environment and gets them working out in the field, enhancing as well as conserving aquaculture. Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology programmes have recently gained much importance in the last few years and even the government is seen promoting it in light of sustainable development when compared to ever-growing human needs and wants. The industry today needs specialists in this field to help the industry as a whole. The learners of such programs are well-groomed with the required practical as well as academic skill set as per industry standards. They are well equipped with the When, What, Why, Where and How: practical experience. People have understood their role and are vociferously working towards achieving it. Sustainable development is no more a long lost scene. Specialised pieces of training on aquaculture and fisheries is the new talk of the town. The government is also providing scholarships to students in this field. Students even opt for international universities like the University Of Wollongong https://www.uow.edu.au/index.html , Vancouver Island University https://www.viu.ca/ etc. that provides them with an option for part-time courses providing advanced technological options as per their interest. It is a global issue which needs immediate redressal. It is a now or never scenario!