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Climate change a real threat to India’s fishermen

fishermenPUNE: Listed among countries in the zones where the effect of climate change would be high on fishing, India is making efforts to train the fishery industry to adapt to climate changes and its depleting effect on the fishing industry, and taking the lead is the India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s Agrimet department in the city.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)’s recent conference suggests promotion of weather and climate information for the agriculture and food security in countries like India, where it paints a bleak picture for the fishing industry owing to climate change.

Maharashtra has the third largest fishing sector in India with a majority dependent on inland fishing. Budhaji Damse, who heads a fishing cooperative in Pune, said paucity of catch in reservoirs in the area are giving fishermen a tough time.

That climate change has been making its effect felt in the fishing industry in Maharashtra, as seen in the decline in production.

The projected production for 2013-14 for Maharashtra is 583.37 thousand tonnes, a decrease from 595.24 thousand tonnes in 2010-11.

The sector in the state contributes almost 1 per cent to the GDP and is 4.6% of agriculture production. Over the years, there has been a significant shift towards inland fisheries and now 63.30% of fishing industry is from inland sources.

Nabanshu Chattopadhyay, deputy director general (agricultural meteorology), IMD, said inland fishery is equally susceptible to climate change and any increase in temperature or change in oxygen level will have a negative impact on shoal of fishes.

Chattopadhyay said there have been reports of large scale death of aquatic life in Haryana and other parts of the country due to change in temperature.

“During flooding of the Brahmaputra in Assam, similar incidents were reported,” he said.

With major part of the fishing community in the country depending on inland fisheries, Chattopadhyay said special training will be imparted to groups that issue agro-meteorological advisories to fishermen.

“Other than weather details we are training AMFU’s to give advisories like use of adaptive measures in case of scenarios like increase in temperature, decrease in dissolved oxygen levels, etc,” he said. – From The Indian Express

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