Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic period which began about 40,000 years ago. Isotopic analysis of the skeletal remains of Tianyuan man, a 40,000-year-old modern human from eastern Asia, has shown that he regularly consumed freshwater fish. The earliest fish, resembling living hagfish, evolved about 550 million years ago. Adaptations that eventually evolved in fish include a complete vertebral column, jaws, and an endoskeleton made of bones instead of cartilage. Fish live throughout the ocean and in freshwater lakes and streams. We know fish are an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. They provide a good source of protein and vitamins, and are a primary dietary source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can: lower risk of heart disease. Fish has been mentioned in major religions of the world because of its importance. Bible says, In the first account of Creation in Genesis chapter 1:1 through chapter 2:4, fish are mentioned on the fifth day of creation as they are part of the living creatures that are in the sea, and on the sixth-day fish are named in particular as humankind is given responsibility for the creation, for God’s creation. In Hinduism, The fishes are considered sacred as they are associated with Lord Vishnu, whose first incarnation on Earth was in the form of a fish. In this incarnation Lord Vishnu is believed to have saved the first human on Earth by informing him of the calamitous floods that were to follow. Similarly, in other religions it is considered very important for various reasons. World wide over 58.5 million people are engaged in the primary sector of capture fisheries and aquaculture. Of these, approximately 37 percent are engaged full time, 23 percent part time, and the remainder either occasional fishers or of unspecified status. Over 15 million are working full-time on board fishing vessels. The top Nations in the World for Fish Production are China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam.followed by United States.The world fish scenario is marked by a complex interplay of ecological, economic, and social factors. Overfishing, habitat destruction, climate change, and pollution continue to pose significant threats to global fish populations. Many fisheries are exploited beyond sustainable levels, leading to declines in fish stocks and disruptions in marine ecosystems. Sustainable fishing practices, marine conservation efforts, and international collaborations are crucial for addressing these challenges and ensuring the long-term health of global fisheries. However, the situation is dynamic, and ongoing developments may have occurred since my last update.
India boasts a diverse and vibrant fisheries sector, contributing significantly to the country’s economy and providing livelihoods for millions of people. With an extensive coastline, numerous rivers, and a rich aquatic biodiversity, India’s fisheries encompass marine, inland, and brackish water resources. The sector includes traditional and modern fishing practices, aquaculture, and related activities. However, challenges such as overfishing, habitat degradation, and inadequate infrastructure persist. The government has implemented various initiatives to promote sustainable practices, enhance aquaculture productivity, and improve the socio-economic conditions of fishing communities. Ongoing efforts focus on balancing conservation with the socio-economic needs of coastal communities and fostering responsible fisheries management.
“On this World Fisheries Day, let us renew our commitment to responsible fishing practices, marine conservation, and the sustainable management of our marine resources. By prioritizing the well-being of our oceans and embracing sustainable strategies, we can ensure a bountiful and thriving marine ecosystem for generations to come.”
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a region in northern India, possesses diverse aquatic resources, including rivers, lakes, and streams. The fisheries sector in J&K plays a crucial role in providing livelihoods to a significant portion of the population, especially in rural areas. The region is known for trout farming, with the cold-water streams and lakes providing suitable habitats for trout species. Additionally, the Jhelum River and other water bodies support various native fish species. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has implemented schemes to promote sustainable fisheries practices, enhance aquaculture, and uplift the socio-economic conditions of fishing communities in the region.
On the 21st of November, nations across the globe come together to commemorate World Fisheries Day, celebrating the vital role of fisheries in providing sustenance, livelihoods, and ecological balance. This year’s theme, “Sustainable Fisheries for a Sustainable Future,” highlights the critical need to adopt responsible practices to preserve marine biodiversity and ensure the long-term viability of our oceans. In light of the challenges posed by overfishing, habitat degradation, and the impacts of climate change, World Fisheries Day serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent action required to safeguard our marine resources. With over 3 billion people depending on marine and freshwater biodiversity for their livelihoods, the sustainable management of fisheries is not only crucial for environmental preservation but also for the economic well-being of communities worldwide. The celebration of this day also presents an opportunity to recognize the advancements in technology and research that have significantly contributed to the sustainable management of fisheries. Notably, the integration of remote sensing technologies has empowered scientists and policymakers to monitor and manage marine ecosystems more effectively, facilitating data-driven decisions for the conservation of fish stocks and the protection of vulnerable species. Amid the challenges posed by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities, various initiatives have been implemented to promote responsible fishing practices and combat the depletion of marine resources. Collaborative efforts between governments, non-governmental organizations, and local communities have led to the implementation of stringent regulations, the establishment of marine protected areas, and the promotion of sustainable fishing techniques, fostering a more holistic approach to preserving the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. Furthermore, the commitment of various international bodies and organizations to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture practices has been instrumental in raising awareness and fostering global cooperation for the conservation of marine resources. With initiatives aimed at reducing plastic pollution, restoring marine habitats, and enhancing the resilience of coastal communities, the collective efforts continue to pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for our oceans and the communities reliant on them. On this World Fisheries Day, let us renew our commitment to responsible fishing practices, marine conservation, and the sustainable management of our marine resources. By prioritizing the well-being of our oceans and embracing sustainable strategies, we can ensure a bountiful and thriving marine ecosystem for generations to come.
(While Dr Bilal. A. Bhat is Professor Statistics at S K University Of Agriculture Sciences & Technology-SKUAST, Srinagar Kashmir, Inain Jaies is a freelancer. The views, opinions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the authors and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)