Fisheries science is an academic discipline of managing and understanding fisheries. This is a multidisciplinary subject that includes the biological study of life, habits and breeding of various species of fish. It also involves farming and husbandry of important fishes and aquatic organisms in freshwater, brackish water and marine environment. Fisheries is a term related with capture of fish including inland and sea, aquaculture, gears, navigation, oceanography, aquarium management, breeding, processing, export and import of sea food, special products and by products, research and related activities. The contribution of fisheries to GDP is around 1.1% and GDP contribution of agriculture sector as a whole is at 5.15%.
Indian fisheries and aquaculture is an important sector of food production, providing nutritional security to the food basket, contributing to the agricultural exports and engaging about fourteen million people in different activities.
During the last six decades this sector has been strengthened with the much needed technical manpower and competent extension personnel with effective transfer of technology. Research and Development has helped the sector in addressing productive issues and the availability of critical inputs for culture like fish seed, high productive breed and medicine by involving Aquaculturist, Farm Managers, Exporters, Traders, Breeders and modern fishermen. Being highly remunerative sector it has been considered as a major source of employment generation and career avenues in various branches of fisheries and aquatic sciences.
Need for Fisheries Professionals
*To make available the much needed technically competent Extension Personnel for Transfer of Technology.
*To make available personnel to assist the research and development and instructors to teach.
*To facilitate administrator to plan, develop and execute Fisheries Development Plan.
*To create Farm Managers, Exporters, Traders, Breeders and modern fishermen etc.
*A career in fisheries science can create an aquaculturist as well.
The degree in Fisheries science is a science degree; one must have studied science with biology till class 12th. To become Fisheries Graduate one has to pass 4 year degree from State Agriculture Universities. For admission in B.F.Sc (Bachelor in Fisheries Science) courses one can apply after 10 + 2 having PCB group. Admission is on the basis of State Level Entrance Examination or via ICAR. Special quota for outside state candidates is allowed to the candidates who have passed entrance exam of ICAR and are getting fellowship too.
Special reserved seats are there for Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. After completion of B.F.Sc candidates can become M.F.Sc (Master of Fisheries Science). For taking admission in Central Institutes, one has to appear for All India Level Common Entrance test conducted by ICAR, New Delhi.
Courses and Program in fisheries
The Fisheries Education in India started with the establishment of Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai in 1961 for the in-service training and later with the establishment of the first Fisheries College in Mangalore under the State Agriculture University (SAU) System in 1969, has grown manifold in the last six decades as a professional discipline consisting of Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Programme in various branches of Fisheries Science. At present, 21 fisheries colleges offer four year programme in Bachelor of Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc.), while 10 of them offer Masters of fisheries Science (M.F.Sc.) in various disciplines and six offers Doctoral programmes. There are various undergraduate and post graduate courses available in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture. One can learn about managing and understanding fisheries in the academic education of fisheries science. On the basis of eligibility one can pursue the following course in fisheries science:
*Bachelors of Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc)- 4years
*Bachelors of Science (Industrial Fish and Fisheries) – 3 years
*Master’s of Fisheries Science (M.F.Sc) – 2 years
*Master’s of science (M.Sc. Applied Aquaculture) – 2 years
Higher education in Fisheries Science
After completion of B.F.Sc candidates can opt for M.F.Sc. (Masters of Fisheries Science) for taking admission in Central Institute of India through all India Level Common Entrance test conducted by ICAR. The important Fisheries Institutes under the ICAR set up in India are mainly CIFE, CIBA, CIFA, CMFRI, CIFT, CIFRI, NBFGR and DCFR. These institutes are engaged in capture, culture, value edition, processing, conservation and biodiversity addressing educational and legal issues in addition to their mandate of research programme. Students can avail opportunities for Masters and specialized education upto the Doctoral Level in these institute. Students can choose sub branches/disciplines of fisheries science that fit their interests in subjects’ areas viz. Fish nutrition and Biochemistry, Inland Aquaculture, Mariculture, Fisheries Resource Management, Fish Genetics and Biotechnology, Post Harvest Technology, Fish Pathology and Microbiology etc.
Job Opportunities in Fisheries Sector
Career for Fisheries and Aquaculture Graduates are available with a variety of employers, including State and Central government agencies, academic institutions and fish farms. Government agencies and industry organizations recruit positions like aquaculture manager, shellfish culturist, hatchery technician, biological science technician, fish research assistant etc. Many career options exist in this field in both public and private sectors in aquaculture to sea farming of fish, shellfish and marine organisms. Entry-level aquaculture jobs require a diploma or an Undergraduate degree in aquaculture and fisheries, but more advanced positions require a Master’s or Doctorate degree. Some of the sector which offers job opportunities for Fisheries Graduates is as under:
State Government: Every State government has a Fisheries department in which Fisheries Graduates can apply for the post of Assistant Fisheries Development Officer (AFDO)/Fisheries Extension Officer (FEO)/inspector of Fisheries and District Fisheries Development Officer. In State Fisheries Development Corporations they can apply for the post of Deputy Managers, Managers, Project Officers and Fisheries Officers. Eligibility criteria vary for each state and can be known from respective Public Service Commission/ Service Selection Boards.
Central Government: one can get Job in central agencies as Technical Officers and Assistant Directors in Maine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Export Inspection Agency (EIA), Coastal Aquaculture Authority of India (CAA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSI) and as Technical Officers and Scientists in Fisheries Survey of India (FSI), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Indian National Centre for Ocean and Information services (INCOIS), Hyderabad etc.
Academic Institutes: Candidates having completed (B.F.Sc) can apply for post of Instructor, Research assistant, Biochemist, Biologist, Technicians etc. in some conventional universities. Candidates having Post Graduates (M.F.Sc) degree can also apply for post of Assistant Professor, in the Faculty of Fisheries. For recruitment of scientists in various agricultural and fisheries institutions under the ICAR, Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB) conducts an All India Competitive Exam, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) followed by Viva Voce.
National banks: fisheries graduates can job as Assistant Development Officers in NABARD, Rural Development Officer, Field Officer, Managers etc. in agriculture loan section in Nationalized as well as Private banks.
Self Employment: the technical competency of the Professional Fisheries Graduates makes them as successful Aqua consultants. Most of them are working in this area. As an entrepreneur, after completing the professional degree in B.F.Sc. candidate can start their own enterprise. The financial support can be obtained through NABARD or through other nationalized banks. The main areas in which fisheries enterprise can be developed are feed manufacturing, feed sales, ornamental fish culture and breeding, aquaculture, hatchery and seed production, commercial pearl production, fish processing and marketing, net making, establishment of Agri Clinics for fish disease diagnosis and for testing and supply of farm inputs. .
Private sector: the fish processing industry is well developed in the country and the fisheries graduates can work as Manager or Officers in sea food processing and export units, aquafeed plants, fishing gear industries and in pharmaceutical companies. Most of the fish/shrimp farms employ professional fisheries Graduates as Farm Incharge. There is great paucity of skilled manpower in the area of designing, construction, management of fish farms and hatcheries.
Jobs Abroad: Apart from scope of higher education in fisheries in countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and European countries there are demand for fisheries professionals in the aquaculture and processing sectors in Gulf and African countries.
Remuneration in this field varies widely, depending on the area of specialization chosen. In private sector the pay varies according to the type of job and specialization of the candidate. But in the Government sector, salary range may be different but it offers stability. In this field, the research positions are quite lucrative but these are usually reserved for Doctorate holders with experience.
(The author is Project Officer Fisheries, Department of Fisheries, J&K Govt)