KOCHI: Projects for catching and processing tuna are being taken up by government agencies with a view to harnessing the potential of the sector.
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT) and the Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training (Cifnet) are among the Kochi-based organisations involved in the exercise.
Though specially processed tuna is in demand, the resources are underexploited, a top official of the MPEDA told The Hindu.
Efforts were being undertaken to increase the catch. The MPEDA had been providing 50 per cent subsidy for converting vessels to facilitate tuna fishing.
�Expertise is required to deploy special liners used for catching tuna. The fish has to be processed immediately to produce the top-ranked �sashmi grade tuna, a delicacy in Japan and European countries.
A subsidy ranging from Rs.7.5 lakh to Rs.15 lakh is being given by the MPEDA for converting the vessels, depending on the size of the vessel.
The waters of the Lakshadweep and Andamans and Nicobar islands have tuna in abundance. It has been assessed that tuna is available in the deep sea, beyond 22 km from the Kerala coast.