Fisheries Science: An emerging area for career building





[ Writer: Dr RUPAM SHARMA ] 


Fisheries Science: An emerging area for career building


Introduction :

Fisheries Science, as the name suggests is an organized scientific effort which is related not only to fish but all other aquatic species. It is an academic discipline of managing and understanding fisheries. This is a multidisciplinary subject that includes Taxonomy, Biology & Resource Management, Ichthyology, Breeding, Farming, Conservation, Genetic Improvement, Disease Management, Environmental Management, Fish Processing, Development of value added products, Fishing technology & Engineering, Oceanography, Marine biology, Marine conservation, Marine ecology, Population dynamics, Aquaculture, Biotechnology, Bio- informatics, Economics and Extension education. It also involves farming and husbandry of important fishes and aquatic organisms in fresh water, brackish water and any marine environment. Fisheries are estimated to provide 16% of the world population’s protein and India holds the seventh position in the world as regards to the value of fish exports. Around 8 million people of India are directly or indirectly dependent on the fisheries sector. The rapidly developing fishery industry provides employment not only to the traditional fishermen, but also to the highly skilled personnel engaged in the scientific breeding and management of fisheries. The scope in the field of fishery science is increasing with the development of brackish water and freshwater aquaculture. Because of the country’s expansive natural resources, dynamic entrepreneurial skills, this profession is advantageous to the Indian economy also. Aquaculture industry has grown rapidly in last few decades. As recorded by FAO (2010), the global fish production reached nearly 145.1 million tones in 2009. Out of this production, inland fish contributed 45.1 million tones whereas marine fish production contributed 100 million tones. The output from aquaculture is expanding firmly than any other animal based food production sector. India with its rapid strides through blue revolution ranks second in aquaculture production globally. The total fish production of 6.57 million metric tones of the country has nearly 55% contribution from the inland sector and nearly the same from culture fisheries. Today, aquaculture is a multimillion dollar business. Aquaculture has been regarded as the world’s fastest growing area of animal production in Asia. However, to improve the productivity of aquaculture, there is a need to adopt recent tools to solve various problems of husbandry and management of the resources. The use of modern technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology are being used for solving disease related problems, to facilitate better spawning or to develop genetically modified species.

To serve this growing sector, there is a huge demand for trained human resources in fisheries science. That is why fisheries education has been developed tremendously in India in recent times. Fisheries science is normally categorized under the agriculture and allied science. Though fisheries science is still in infant stage compared to agriculture and veterinary science, yet it has made its impact within the scientific fraternities.

Professional fisheries education in India was started a bit late when compared to the agriculture and veterinary Science. In 1969, the first college for offering Bachelor in Fisheries Science (B.F.Sc.) was started at Mangalore under University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. It is a four years course including six months field training in the final year. Later Post graduate programmes (M.F.Sc.) in different disciplines were started. The second and third Fisheries Colleges were started in Tamil Nadu (1977) and in Kerala (1979) both under the respective Agricultural Universities. Today, there are 19 Fisheries colleges in India. The following Table shows the list of Fisheries Colleges in the country.

Sl No Name of the College State where located
College of Fisheries Science, Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University,
Muthukur, Nellore – 524 344
Andhra Pradesh
College of Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University, Raha, Nagaon –  782 103 Assam
College of Fisheries, Rajendra Agricultural University, Dholi, Muzaffarpur – 843 121

Bihar College of Fisheries, Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Kawardha, 491995Chhattisgarh College of Fisheries, Junagadh Agricultural University,
Veraval, 362265

Gujarat College of Fisheries , Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Srinagar Rangil (Nagabal, Ganderbal, Shalimar Campus , Srinagar – 191212Jammu and Kashmir College of Fisheries (Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, Mangalore – 575 002

Karnataka College of Fisheries, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Panangad, Kochi – 682 506

Kerala College of Fishery Sciences, Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, Telangkhedi, Nagpur  440 001Maharashtra College of Fisheries, Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Shirgaon, Ratnagiri – 415 629

Maharashtra College of Fisheries, Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, Latur, Udgir – 413 517Maharashtra College of Fisheries, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Rangailunda, Berhampur, Ganjam  -760 007Odisha College of Fisheries, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana – 141 004Punjab College of Fisheries, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur – 313 001Rajasthan Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Thoothukudi – 628 008Tamil Nadu College of Fisheries,
Central Agricultural University, Agartala – 799210Tripura College of Fisheries, Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad – 224229Uttar Pradesh College of Fisheries Science, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar – 263 145Uttarakhand Faculty of Fisheries Science, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, 5, Budherhat Road, Chakgaria, Panchasayar, Kolkata – 700094West Bengal

Further many of these colleges also offer Masters in Fisheries Science (M.F.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). In addition to the above mentioned colleges, Post Graduate programmes such as M.F.Sc. and PhD are also offered at Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, which is the first Deemed University in Fisheries, in this country. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is having the administrative control of the institution. The syllabus of the degree programmes of all the colleges are almost uniform, excepting the differences due to the localities (Some are coastal states where as others are land locked). ICAR conducts entrance exams at national level to select students both at under and post graduate level to a limited number of seats in colleges. The selected candidates are offered with fellowship by ICAR. The main objective of fisheries science is to make available the much needed technically competent human resource for upliftment of the sector. It helps a person to assist the research and development; to develop and execute fisheries development plan and also to develop entrepreneurship.

After successful completion of the Bachelor degree, one can opt for various jobs or Masters Degree in Fisheries Science followed by Ph.D. in specialized Fisheries Subjects in India or abroad. With B.F.Sc. qualification if the students qualifies Junior Research Fellowship of ICAR then they receive a stipend of Rs. 12,000/- and 18000/- per month. One can also be assured of M.F.Sc seat in any of the Fisheries Colleges in India.


A career in Fisheries science offers assured openings in the following major sectors of Fisheries.

1 State Government Every State Government has a Fisheries Department in which fisheries graduate can apply for the post of Assistant Fisheries Development Officer (AFDO) / Fisheries Extension Officer (FEO) and District Fisheries Development Officer.
2 Central Government One can get job in central agencies like Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Fisheries, Survey of India (FSI), NIO, WHO, FAO, NACA, NABARD, EIA.
3 Academic Institutes Candidates having degree (B.F.Sc.) can apply for the post of Research Assistant, Biochemist, Biologist, Technicians, etc. Candidates having Postgraduate degree (M.F.Sc.) can apply for the post of Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Fisheries. For the recruitment as scientists in various agricultural and fisheries Institutions under the ICAR, ASRB conducts an All India Competitive Exam, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) followed by viva voce. The qualified students will be recruited as scientist in eight fisheries institutes of India such as CIFE, CIFA, CIFRI, CIBA, CIFT, CMFRI, NBFGR, DCFR
4 National Banks Fisheries graduates can get jobs as a field officer, managers in agriculture loan section in nationalized as well as private banks.
5 Self Employment As an entrepreneur, after obtaining 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 area 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 are marketing, net making fish disease establishment of agriclinics.
6 Private Sector Candidates can work as a manager or officers in seafood processing and export units, aqua feed plants, fishing gear industries and in pharmaceutical companies. There is great paucity of skilled manpower in the Area of Designing, Construction, Management of Fish Farms and Hatcheries.
7 Fishing / Ocean The increasing demand for sea food, sea based medicines and grooming of eco – friendly industries are likely to create a huge demand for oceanographers. Fishing is one of the areas in fishery sector. Participating in deep sea Exploration has tremendous scope. Government and World Bank are always supporting to develop fishing industry by Assistance in terms of subsidies and finance.
8 Foreign Jobs Apart from scope for higher education in fisheries in countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and in European countries, there is a demand for fisheries professional in the aquaculture and processing sectors in Gulf and African countries also. There are number of fisheries countries graduates doing business in foreign countries in field of aquaculture, export & import.

In the North-East India, there are two colleges which offer B.F.Sc. and M.F.Sc. First college is in Raha in Nagaon district which is under Assam Agricultural University. The second college is in Agartala, Tripura which is under Central Agricultural University. Both the colleges were established in 1988 and 1998 respectively. The passed out students of these colleges are well settled as scientist, assistant professors, Subject matter specialist in Krishi Vigyan Kendra, in state depts., banks and even in abroad. The job opportunity of this education is tremendous.

The region in general and Assam in particular, is endowed with vast inland water resources with total water area of 3.91 lakh ha. The following table describes about the various resources available in Assam –

Sl No Resources Area
1 Water Resource

3.93 lakh ha2River fisheries2,05,000   ha

3Beel fisheries

1,00,000   ha4Ponds/Tanks

40,583    ha5Derelict water bodies

40,050    ha6Forest fisheries

5017    ha7Reservoir fisheries1,713    ha


However, the present level of productivity in river fisheries is 15-20 kg/ha/yr against the potential of 100-150 kg/ha/yr. In beel fisheries, the productivity is 173 kg/ha/yr against the potential of 1500 kg/ha/yr. In case of pond & tank fisheries, the productivity is 1800-2000 kg against the potential of 5000 kg/ha/yr. Having great scope for development of fisheries and aquaculture in the north east region, many more young minds need to be engaged in this sector which will make the states self sufficient in fish production. This will help in improving socio-economic status of the regions and will also generate huge employment for the youth.


Writer: Dr Rupam Sharma, Senior Scientist

Central Institute of Fisheries Education

Yari Road, Versova, Mumbai – 400061


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