The Indian Fishmeal and Fish Oil Exporters’ Association (IFAFEA®), a consortium of 14 major fish meal and fish oil producers in India, has been working on a fishery improvement program for the Indian Oil Sardine Sardinella longiceps along both coasts of India since 2017.
The first stakeholders meet was held on 27th July 2017 in Kochi, which was attended by prominent stakeholders, such as representatives from fishermens’ associations, fish marketing federations, principal and senior scientists of both Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI)and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), officials of Marine Products Exports Development Agency (MPEDA), Export Inspection Agency (EIA), Department of Fisheries, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa, Twenty representatives / owners of fishmeal industry, aquafeed Industry, Secretary General of Seafood exporters’ Association, and MARVESA, one of the leading dealers of fish oil and fishmeal in the world through their representatives, Mr. Rob Brantjes and Mr. Adriaan Lerensveld.
In a keynote address renowned marine fisheries management expert Prof. Dr. Mohan Joseph Modayil, former Director of CMFRI highlighted the status of Indian oil sardines and the need for interventions leading to its conservation and sustainability. He also stressed that there should be an attempt to carry out a Fishery Improvement Program (FIP) for Indian oil sardine for the entire Indian coast wherever sardines are landed, as these species are highly migratory and belong to one single stock. Presentations on the importance of FIP were also made by Mr. Mahesh Raj Malpe, CE, IFAFEA explaining the background of the Fishery improvement Program, work done so far the various components of FIP, partners, the way forward and sought full support from both the government and industry in this importa initiative. Dr.Prathibha Rohit, Principal scientist, CMFRI also made a presentation on the status of IOS, its stock and the trend in total landings over many years.
Mr. Rob Brantjes made a presentation on behalf of IFFO-RS explaining the importance of IFFO-RS certification for producers of Fishmeal and Fish Oil by only sourcing raw material through responsible supplies from a Sustainable resource and for which a comprehensive FIP is a prerequisite.
Other prominent speakers were Dr. C.K. Murthy, joint Director of Fisheries, Karnataka State, Dr.Shamila Monteiro, Director of Fisheries Goa, and Mr.Ilyas Sait, General Secretary, Seafood Exporters’ Association.
Two important resolutions were unanimously adopted by the stakeholders. They are that all the fishmeal and fish oil producer members of IFAFEA resolve not to procure undersized sardines and strictly abide by the minimum landed size (MLS) prescribed by the respective maritime states, and that fishermen and boat owners’ associations from Karnataka state agree to increase the mesh size of their nets from the current 18 mm to 32 mm. This is a remarkable initiative and a step closer to sustainability of the Indian Oil Sardine.
Based on a gap analysis provided through a consultancy study by Mr. Sam Peacock, of RS Standards Ltd., UK, from February 2017 to October 2018, the IFAFEA submitted a formally completed application to IFFO-RS and a detailed work plan to IFFO-RS for approval and further discussions for revision are ongoing. Meanwhile the IFAFEA has commenced an active awareness project all along both coasts through the international NGO Asian Fisheries Society through its Indian Branch (AFSIB).
On 25th July, 2019 the All India Fishery Improvement Project by AFSIB was launched at Mangalore, Karnataka by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mangalore city Ms. M.J. Roopa IAS in a public function presided over by Mr. Ramakrishna, Director of Fisheries, Karnataka State and attended by over 50 purse seine and trawl boat owners and all important fish meal and fish oil plant owners, the press and visual media and key public figures. The Chief Guest Dr. Senthil Vel, Dean, College of Fisheries, Mangalore highlighted the scientific basis for conservation and sustainability of marine fishery resources, especially the small pelagics. Dr. P.Keshavanath welcomed while Dr. Shamasunder, Vice president AFSIB proposed vote of thanks. Dr. S.M. Shivaprakash, Professor & Head, Department of Fisheries Resources and Management, College of Fisheries gave a detailed presentation on the various aspects of conservation and responsible fisheries in local language. A website for updating all activities on the fishery improvement program was launched during the function by Dr. Senthil Vel, Dean, College of Fisheries. A brochure on various steps to be followed for fisheries sustainability was printed in local language and distributed to stake holders. This initiative received wide publicity and was welcomed by the academia, fishery managers, scientists and fishery operatives. The project is coordinated by Prof (Dr) P. Keshavanath former Dean, College of Fisheries who will be operating it across the maritime States of India.
This launch function was followed by another public awareness program at Malpe, near Udupi town which is a major fishing harbor in Karnataka. The awareness program was inaugurated on 27th July, 2019 by Mr. Satish Kundar, President Fishermen Association, Malpe.The Deputy Director of Fisheries and Assistant Director of Fisheries, Government of Karnataka spoke during the function. Dr. S.M. Shivaprakash, Professor & Head, Department of Fisheries Resources and Management, College of Fisheries gave a detailed presentation on the various aspects of conservation and responsible fisheries in local language. Dr. P.Keshavanath, Principal Investigator welcomed while Dr. Shamasunder, Vice president AFSIB proposed vote of thanks. Brochure on fisheries sustainability steps to be followed was printed in local language and distributed to stake holders.
A similar awareness program was held in Karwar, another major fishery harbor in north Karnataka. The meeting was held on 29th July 2019 in the Regional Centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.
Mr. Ganapati Rama Mangre, President , Uttara Kannada District Cooperative Marketing Federation (Regd) was the Chief Guest. In addition to a detailed presentation by Dr. S.M.Shivaprakash, conservation issues for small pelagic fisheries were flagged by Prof. J.L.Rathod, Head, Karnataka University Post Graduate Centre, Karwar and Dr. Jayashree Loka, Scientist in Charge, CMFRI Regional Centre spoke on the occasion.