As year 2017 comes to close, it is time to take stock of our achievements and plan ahead for the new year. The past year was fruitful and the institute has successfully addressed various challenges and scaled new heights. While celebrating its Platinum Jubilee Year in 2017 a new regional research centre at Digha was opened that will address the challenges in developing the marine fisheries sector of the north east coast of India. Several outcomes with societal benefits like mKrishi®, deployment of artificial reefs, GIS based databases of marine fisheries related infrastructure and marine fishery resources and the development of nutraceuticals happened through focussed and untiring efforts. Programmes aimed at skill development and improving income of fishermen and fish farmers were organised. In collaboration with NITI Aayog, the institute hosted the workshop on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) dealing with life below water which is one among the 17 SDGs identified by the United Nations. Brood Banks to cater to needs of the fish farmers for finfish seed of high value marine finfish, have become possible with DADF funding. Development of an indigenous Marine Fisheries Code incorporating international best practices and guidelines, as a touchstone for the sustainable management of marine fishery resources in India, putting Fishery Improvement Plans in motion and the success in seed production of more finfish species with high mariculture potential such as the lethrinid Pink Ear Emperor and the carangid Indian Pompano, were noteworthy achievements. The very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi that arrived in the last week of November devastated the marine fisheries sector and several fishermen from Kerala and Tamil Nadu lost their lives. This moment of tragedy also highlights the inevitability of increasingly unpredictable climate and weather patterns emerging on a global scale and the need to address the challenges arising because of the Climate Change phenomenon. It alerts the scientific society to the need for developing more robust early warning systems for natural disasters and the fishermen for greater adoption of sea safety measures and vessel tracking systems that can help reduce the possible damage in such situations. Let us move ahead on a positive note, reiterating our commitment to a healthy, sustainable fisheries sector in India and working together to usher in the Blue Revolution.
Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan