A mobile application has been developed under the government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for the quick reporting of fish diseases and the timely dissemination of scientific advice to aqua farmers.
The app was launched on 28 June 2023 by the Union minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy, Parshottam Rupala. Farmers with the help of the app can report disease cases in finfish, shrimps, and molluscs on their farms to the field-level officers and fish health experts and get scientific advice for quickly addressing the problem at their farms. The app will be a central platform for connecting fish farmers, field-level officers, and experts.
Fish is one of the healthiest a source of animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and offers immense potential to mitigate malnutrition. Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food-producing sectors and has a big role to play in meeting the rising demand for protein.
The sector provides livelihood and employment to about three crore fishers and fish farmers in the country. Foreseeing the potential, the Government of India has implemented a flagship scheme, the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, with an investment of Rs 20,050 crore, the highest-ever investment in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the country.
Diseases, however, are a serious constraint to the growth of aquaculture, and huge economic losses are reported by farmers due to aquatic animal diseases. Early detection is considered to be key to the control of diseases, and can only be achieved through a structured surveillance program, the government said in a release.
Recognizing the importance of disease surveillance, the government launched the National Surveillance Program for Aquatic Animal Diseases (NSPAAD), which was supported by the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, under the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare, through the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) Hyderabad in the year 2013.
This program was initiated in 14 states of aquaculture importance and involved 24 collaborating centers. It is being coordinated by the ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources. To further strengthen the aquatic animal disease surveillance program, the second phase of NSPAAD with a total cost of Rs 33.778 crore for a period of three years is supported under PMMSY. With pan-India coverage, it has the active involvement of the state fisheries departments and the Marine Products Export Development Authority. The program was successfully launched by Purushottam Rupala, union minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying India on February 27, 2023.
The ‘Report Fish Disease’ App has been developed under the same program. The development of the app marks an important step by providing the entire fish farming communities with a platform to share their problems, the government says.
It is envisaged that the app will reach all fish farming communities located in the remotest places of the country so that each disease in aquatic animals is reported, investigated and timely scientific advice is provided to address the problem within a minimum period of time. The government feels this will help reduce the economic loss happening due to disease outbreaks to a great extent.