Kerala’s dream of having a university for fisheries and ocean sciences is just a step away from becoming a reality.
Kerala is all set to net a big catch
Armed with a comprehensive report that advocates the setting up of the first university of its kind, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma recently sought the support of the Human Resource Ministry for setting up the institution.
A task force set up by the State Government, which prepared the project report for the university, has suggested that Kochi be the seat of the university.
The university, hope the members of the task force, will be a runaway success in the State, considering the marine and inland aquatic resources of Kerala, its richness in biodiversity and the strong tradition of aquaculture and fisheries. These factors will ensure societal support for the university, it is expected.
The financial outlay of the university will be around Rs. 290 crore. The 12-member task force had V. Ravindranath, Director, Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Kochi, as chairman and B. Madhusoodana Kurup, adviser to the Fisheries Minster and Professor at the School of Industrial Fisheries of the Cochin University of Science and Technology, as convener.
The proposed fisheries and ocean sciences university is expected to offer excellent opportunities in augmenting qualified and trained manpower, value addition and wealth and employment generation in the fisheries sector. It will have separate campuses for marine, brackish and freshwater fisheries.
The focus of the university will be to provide world-class quality education with thrust on research-oriented studies and effective and meaningful extension activities.
The university needs to have good linkages with reputed national and international institutes for fulfilling this dream, the task force suggests.
The university will hope to achieve academic excellence by conducting graduate, undergraduate and research programmes in emerging disciplines of fisheries science and introducing specialised courses in the required areas. It will be thus able to shape professionals and experts in the sector and avoid duplication in fisheries courses.
Encouraging entrepreneurship-oriented coaching and undertaking research in frontier areas of fisheries science based on State and national priorities, developing user-friendly packages, providing demand-driven training and educational programmes on various technologies related to fisheries and allied disciplines and promoting successful technology transmission at the grassroots level are also among the objectives.
Kochi is the focal point of all fisheries activities of the country. It is the main seafood export centre and a large number of fish-processing and related activities are based there.
All these institutions provide employment and livelihood options for thousands in sectors such as seafood processing, curing, net making and repairing, marketing and preparation of value-added products.
Kochi houses the highest number of research and scientific institutions related to the fisheries sector.
The presence of institutions such as the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, National Institute of Oceanography, Central Institute of Fisheries, Nautical and Engineering Training, Integrated Fisheries Project, Fishery Survey of India and Marine Products Export Development Authority puts Kochi in an advantageous position.
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