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In the Tropics, commercial fisheries have not developed. The reasons for non-development of commercial fisheries in the tropics may be enumerated as follows:
(i) Tropical waters are not shallow and contain no 'banks'.
(ii) Warm seas do not support or favor the growth of plankton. As such large number in fish do not favor the region deficient of fish food. The productivity of plankton depends on sunlight, ocean currents, vertical mixing of ocean currents and chemical contents of water.
(iii) Due to comparatively high temperature in the tropics, fish rot very quickly. The entire catch is consumed as fish canning and refrigeration practices are rarely developed.
(iv) Though a large variety of fish is to be found in the tropical waters, most of them are not edible and hence there has not been large-scale exploitation.
(v) The warm, damp climate is not conducive to hard work required in fishing.
(vi) The lack of capital and modern appliances to make fishing a great success stands in the way of commercial fishing in the tropics.
(vii) Transport facilities between fishing ports and markets are not satisfactory in the tropical areas. This is responsible for non-development of commercial fishing.
Pearl fishing is practiced in tropical waters-especially in Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Mannar and the seawaters from Indonesia to northern coast of Australia.
Future of fisheries: The wealth of the sea is large but not inexhaustible. Man has been raising billions of pounds of fish from the sea. The sea will register a marked decline in fish catch, if conservation is not taken up. Investigations to reveal the life history and habits of fish are to be made. Fish is to be allowed to spawn sufficiently to reproduce and the total catch is to be limited to the market demand and all possible wastage is to be avoided.
Supply of fish may be augmented by
(a) extension of areas of operations to relatively nearby areas, such as the coasts of Argentina, Uruguay and West Coasts of Africa;
(b) intensive use of the present fishing grounds by catching new species;
(c) greater use of the catch by eliminating much of the waste, which occurs under present methods through spoilage or the throwing back of edible but uneconomical species.
Man must strike a balance between the demand for more fish and the necessity for conservation of fish particularly in the intensively harvested areas. It is a difficult task, indeed.
Conservation: Fisheries at present are contributing to the food resources of world and their conservation is therefore, very important, for our use and for the future. The problems of fishery conservation are numerous. It is essential first to locate the fish and to devise some estimate of their abundance. It is also necessary to determine the maximum sustainable yield of fish population. Moreover, there should be supervision and control over fisheries, and the ecological requirements of the fishing grounds should not be disturbed and polluted.
Consumption : The annual world fish catches amount to 52 million tonnes. Of this Asia accounts for over 30 per cent, Europe (including Russia) 25 per cent, Peru alone 15 per cent, North America 8 percent and the rest of the world the remaining 20 per cent. Annual fish consumption per capita is greatest in Portugal and Japan (45 kg/Yr.). Denmark, Norway and Sweden (27.41 kg/Yr.), Taiwan (36kg/Yr.) and Asian countries e.g. Malaysia (29 kg/Yr.) are also major consumers. Advanced countries where meat is easily available tend to consume little fish. South America in general consumes little fish because of the importance of ranching e.g. Argentina.
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