India’s fisheries sector has very low level of utilisation of insurance compared to other sub-sectors of agriculture, says a study by the state-run Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Throwing light into the alarming situation prevailing in the country’s fisheries sector, CMFRI says that the sector has received little attention either at the Centre or state levels. India is the second-largest fish producer in the world after China, and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production. Over 14.5 million people depend on fisheries for their livelihood and it also earns foreign exchange. The study was conducted, both in the capture and culture sectors, in 14 fishing centres in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha and among the fish farmers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Information collected from the insurance companies and government departments was also analysed for the study.
Apart from accident risks of marine fishermen, the other major risks involved in the sector such as loss and damage to fishing vessels and gear and damage to coastal assets of fishermen are covered only at a limited scale across the country. Moreover, no insurance policy exists in the country for the risks such as large scale decline in stock of fish species, damage of sea cages, loss of fish crops, damage to farm structures etc. The study reports that except for the presence of a few public insurance companies and cooperative bodies at the local level with limited scale of activity, insurance is still under-utilised.