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The Maharashtra government is mulling to double the inland fish production from the current Rs 1.5 lakh metric tonne, Fisheries Minister Mahadev Jankar said today. Jankar said there are 30 fish seed production centres in the state with 2,414 lakh spawn production capacity per year for catering to inland fishing. The government will now set up 53 portable hatchery centres on co-operative basis all over the state close to large ponds, reservoirs and lakes, Jankar told reporters here. He said the cost of setting up each facility would be Rs 3.5 lakh. Jankar said earlier the state government would procure fish seeds from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. "With the hatchery set up of our own, we will save Rs 3 crore on seed purchase," he said. Jankar informed that the marine production is 4.5 lakh metric tonne annually which has remained stagnant for a few years. "One-third of the marine production is exported," he added. The Minister also said new licenses for Purse seine nets are not being given. These nets are to be used for fishing mackrel (bangda) and Sardin (Tarli) fish since they move in groups. Purse seine nets can stretch from 500 metres up to 1 kilometres and sometimes fishermen attach two or three such nets and cover an area of 3 kilometres, pulling out a large proportion of fish population.
The nets have codend size (mesh ) spanning from 25 mm to 35mm that blocks small fish, fishlings and fish eggs from falling back into the ocean, thereby stopping them from multiplying. "Now, the codend size has been expanded. There are 494 purse seine net licenses in the state," he added. Out of the 1.92 lakh fishing community members, biometric cards have been given to 1.86 lakh, Jankar said.
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