Marine scientists start deep sea research cruise for assessment of marine mammal population
Part of a move for conservation of marine mammals and thereby paving ways for boosting India’s seafood trade
In a major attempt which would pave the ways for boosting India’s seafood trade, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI), the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the Fishery Survey of India (FSI) have jointly launched a research cruise for assessment marine mammal population of the EEZ. The research initiative assumes significance in the wake of emerging seafood trade-related challenges faced by the fishermen targeting high-value resources and the export market players of India. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA, had issued import strictures of strict adherence to norms laid out in Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of their country, stating that seafood exporting countries should not allow intentional killing of marine mammals in commercial fisheries. For exporting fish and fish products, the US has given a five-year exemption period starting January 1, 2017 to nations for developing regulatory programs by assessing marine mammal stocks, estimating by-catch, calculating by-catch limits, and reducing total by-catch.
MPEDA Chairman Shri. K S Srinivas IAS flagging off the research cruise in the presence of CMFRI Director Dr A Gopalakrishnan and FSI Director General Dr. L. Ramalingam.
A joint initiative of the three major central agencies functioning under different ministries, the cruise is aimed at closely observing and monitoring of marine mammal stocks and scientific interaction, especially collecting oceanographic parameters.
“This research will emerge as a game-changer in conservation of marine mammals and reduction in the interaction of ecologically threatened species by ensuring uninterrupted export of the seafood and enhancing the livelihood of the fisheries. The mission is expected to lead to the genesis of a pioneering research project conceived and implemented by CMFRI with the financial assistance of the MPEDA and infrastructure support of the FSI ”, said CMFRI Director Dr A Gopalakrishnan. “This is a project of national importance with global impact, which once successfully completed would place our research status on marine mammals in the select comity of nations”, he said.
Dr. R. Jeyabaskaran Principal Investigator of the project and Senior Scientist of CMFRI said: “The project focuses on assessing the status of stock health of marine mammals and all species of sea turtles in Indian waters. Marine mammals and sea turtles play key roles in maintaining marine ecosystems”.
The mission was flagged off by MPEDA Chairman Shri. K S Srinivas IAS in the presence of Dr A Gopalakrishnan, FSI Director General Dr L Ramalingam, and Dr R Jeyabaskaran.
The vessel is fitted with a 4 stroke Volvo Penta make 500 BHP engine, OAL (m): 24 & GRT: 268.8. The main deck of the vessel contains cabin for scientists and crew, weather station, galley, mess room and toilet.
CMFRI adjudged as best research institute under ICAR
CMFRI wins ICAR’s highest award
The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has been adjudged as the best research institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The CMFRI won the Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR institutions award, the highest award of the ICAR in the category of the large institutions with a cash prize of Rs 10 Lakhs, a Silver Plaque, Certificate and Citation.This is in recognition of CMFRI’s excellent performance in marine fisheries research during the period from 2014 to 2019.
This is the second time CMFRI bagging this prestigious award. Various cutting edge research activities including development of mariculture technologies such as open sea cage fish farming, seaweed farming, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) and breeding and seed production technologies for marine food fish and ornamental fishes which were aimed to enhance the income of fishermen helped CMFRI achieving the highest ranking among more than 110 agricultural and allied research institutes in the country. CMFRI’s efforts on preparing a range of policy guidelines, including the works on minimum legal size (MLS), National Policy on Mariculture and ecosystem-based management towards the sustainable utilization of marine fisheries resources were well appreciated. Its research initiatives in developing nutraceutical products from marine organisms to treat type 2 diabetes, arthritis, obesity, thyroid and hypertension also played a major role in winning the award. In addition, the institute exhibited leadership in winning several externally funded research projects such as National Brood bank for Cobia and Silver pompano and a Centre of Excellence and Innovation funded by the DBT. The institute also obtained many patents during the period.