Population explosion is
a source of increasing concern for all countries of the world, because the
problem of providing food to billions of people is becoming very difficult
every day. The lack of food for the people has been one of the major concerns
in many parts of the world including India. Land resources are not at all sufficient
for meeting the actual food requirement of the growing population. The utilization
of marine food resources can effectively support quite a bigger population of
the world .Fisheries distribute more than 150 million tonnes of food and around
15 per cent of the dietary to 7 billion people living in the world. Sea resources
and inland water resources are renewable, compared to agricultural resources,
and replenished year after year. They represent self-sustaining ‘fund’ resource
which can be profitably exploited year after year within the maximum limits of
its economic exploitation. Almost 70 per cent of the Earth is covered with sea water.
It occupies an area of 510 million sq km. Sea water is twice as productive per
acre as any area of the land. It is not possible for land resources to supply
the animal protein found in fish in rice eating countries, where people suffer
from malnutrition, fish food is one with high nutritional value. Therefore advancement
in fisheries has received considerable significance in recent years throughout
the world. It is a fact that the main weapon in war on starvation could be
developed by supplementing agriculture with ‘pisciculture’.

Fishing is one of the
oldest occupations of man. It is a major industry all over the world. Fishing
is one of the oldest means of livelihood. Since three-fourth of the earth’s
surface is covered by oceans, people living in the coastal areas went to sea in
search of food. As the demand for food increased, fishing activity expanded
from shallow water to deep-water. In earlier time, fishing was considered as a
way of life, as fishermen had to work with the unpredictable natural conditions
for their livelihood.

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The critical problem of
the world today is shortage of conventional food. Rise in demand for food and
rise in food prices are still the common problems of many developing countries,
including India. The race between population and land based agricultural
production still persisting in many parts of the world despite some
technological improvements that have been brought out in raising the
agricultural productivity. The belief that food from land resources will be
able to support the ever increasing population is relatively becoming
paradoxical and “Malthusian Pessimism” still pervades in many parts of the
world presuming that land resources could produce enough food grains by
improving the technology, it would not help in producing nutritious and
balanced diet required for individual. Even in developed countries, like Japan,
U.S.A, and European countries, the fish meet most of their food requirements.
The per capita consumption of fish is very high in these countries compared to
the developing countries. The problem of ‘Protein Gap” at present is more acute
in India and other developing countries. This gap can be filled up by producing
fish food from the world seas.

Fish and other forms of
sea food which are available in large quantities in the oceans of the world
would be able to meet the food needs of mankind. Compared to the food
production from land resources, marine fishery resources are not only self
renewing and replenishing but also can be constantly harvested year after year.

Besides being vital
source of food supply for people all around the globe, it provides employment
to million. They are also a vital item of trade for coastal areas. The general
development of the sea food industry leads to the development of ancillary
industries such as fish net making, ship building, metal works, storage and
refrigeration units and transporting units. The development of these industries
will raise the standard of living of the people. Capture fisheries and
aquaculture supplied the world with about 148 million tonnes of fish in 2010,
of which about 128 million tones was utilized as food for people. With
sustained growth in fish production and improved distribution channels, world
fish supply has grown dramatically in the last five decades, with an average
growth rate of 3.2 per cent per year in the period 1961- 2009, outpacing the
increase of 1.7 per cent per year in the world’s population.

Fish and fishery
products are among the most traded food commodities worldwide. In 2010, they
accounted for more than half of the total value of traded commodities in Green
land, Seychelles, Faeroe Islands and Vanuatu. In the same year, fishery trade
represented about 10 per cent of total agricultural exports and 1 per cent of
world merchandise trade in value terms.

The fishing industry
has a vital role to play in all round development of Indian economy. Fisheries
development has been assigned a very important place in the economic
development plans of India. Surrounded by sea on three sides and possessed big
rivers, bays, lakes and numerous artificially built canals, reservoirs, tanks
and ponds, India possesses ideal condition for improvement of fisheries. Organization
of this industry on modern lines will go a long way in solving the food problem
in the country and improving the lot of fishermen who constitute quite a
significant part of India’s population.

Indian fisheries are an
important component of global fisheries. It is both marine and inland. Inland
fisheries are the culture and capture of fisheries in fresh water. It is also
called fresh water fisheries. The fresh water catch is more potential than that
of the sea. Culture and capture of fishes in the sea is called marine
fisheries. Fisheries sector plays an important role in the socio-economic
development of India, generating employment for a large coastal population. In
Tamil Nadu also fishing plays an important role.

The general
development of fishing industry leads to the development of ancillary
industries, fish net making, ship building, repairing units, metal works and
engineering units, packing and packaging units, storage and refrigeration units
etc. The development of these industries will raise the standard of living of
the people. The fishery sector in India is interrelated with the economy,
particularly with the rural sector of the country, which consists of large
number of backward and economically weaker section of the society. Fishery
sector provides the opportunity to bridge the gap between the availability and
requirements of high quality protein, a subsidiary food for internal
consumption at reasonable prices and it has export potential also. Considering
the significance of fisheries, the planning commission of India focused special
care on this sector.


Tuticorin, the Pearl
City, is one of the major harbours in India. The headquarters of Tuticorin district
is Tuticorin. Tuticorin district formed out of the old Tirunelveli district in
1986. The freedom struggle story cannot be narrated unless we mention the supreme
sacrifices of the well-known freedom fighter and the sons of the district like
V.O.C. who introduced the first Swadeshi Ship ‘Gallileo’ to the Tuticorin port
and the great freedom fighter Veerapandiya  Kattabomman who fought bravely against the
British. The people’s poet Subramania Bharathi and the radical activist
Vanchinathan were also the proud sons of the soil. Tuticorin is customarily
known for its pearl fishing and shipping industries.

Tuticorin has a unique
position along the Gulf of Mannar in the east coast of India in view of the
facilities available for the development and exploitation of the marine
fisheries of the region. The district started functioning as the twentieth
district in Tamil Nadu with effect from October 20, 1980 with Thoothukudi as
its head quarters.

Tuticorin is in South
of Tamil Nadu about 590 kilometres south west of Chennai and is geographically
located in the Gulf of Mannar. The climate of Tuticorin is extremely hot and
humid. It is situated in the extreme south-eastern corner of Tamil Nadu state
and bounded on the north by the districts of Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar and
Ramanathapuram, on the east and south-west by the districts of Tirunelveli.

The area of the
district is 4,621 Sqkm and the population is 17,38,376. The district has Three
Revenue Divisions, Eight Taluks, Twelve Blocks, One Corporation, Two
Municipalities, Nineteen Town Panchayats and 480 Revenue Village, Six Constituencies
and One Lokshaba are in the district. The density of population per Sq.km is
378 as against 555 for the state. The sex ratio is 1024 female for every 1000
males. The percentage of literacy is 86.52. Fifty eight per cent of the people
live in rural areas. The district has a SC population of 2.8 lakhs, which is
around 18 per cent of the population. Male Literacy is 91.42.per cent. Female
Literacy is 81.77 per cent.

The present study is
chosen in view of the principles of academicians towards applied research in
social sciences. Academicians are interested in problems associated with
long-term policies which focus on bringing about improvements in standard of
living of vulnerable sections of the population, creation of employment
opportunities and thereby generating additional incomes for the poor, narrowing
regional imbalances etc.

The choice of the topic
is quite relevant as fishermen constitute one of the weaker sections of the
society and fish protein is one of the cheapest sources for our population
where staple food is rice. Further the unexploited fishery resources offer vast
scope for sustained employment opportunities and development of fisheries, if
taken up in the right direction in a coastal district like Tuticorin. This
would contribute to narrowing regional imbalance.

The in depth of the
study will facilitate to highlight various issues connected with production,
marketing and operation problems of fishing industry. In these contexts, the
study assumes its significance.

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