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ECONOMICS OF THE FISHING INDUSTRY IN GOA:
AN ANALYSIS OF PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS

Branda Rodrigues
Lecturer in Economics

INTRODUCTION
Goa is located in the Konkan region along the West Coast of India and is blessed with marine resources of the Arabian Sea. With a contribution of 20 percent to the primary sector and around 2.5 percent of total state gross domestic product at factor cost at current prices in 2002-2003, fishing is an important industry in Goa. The State's 105-kilometre long coastline threw up around 90,990 tones of marine fish catch in the 2002-03 (Goa Economic Survey, 2003-2004). Apart from the coastal resource the State is blessed with a rich network of ever-flowing rivers, fresh water reservoirs, and dams with abundant water. Goa has 47 licensed aquaculture farms covering 200 hectares and an estimated 400 tidal fish / prawn filtration farms. However Goa should, as a matter of fact, be able to produce quantities of fish sufficient not only to satisfy the requirements of the local population at a reasonable price, but also supply fish to areas across the border. Inland fish catch accounts for hardly 5 percent of total fish catch amounting to 3,713 tons in 2002-03 (Goa Economic Survey, 2003-2004).
This paper analyses the trends in marine catch and the exports of fish from Goa using appropriate models. It attempts to quantify the contribution of the fishing industry to the overall growth of the Goan economy, and also highlights the institutional support provided by the Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI) and the Department of Fisheries. Finally, the paper seeks to analyze the problems faced by the fishing industry in the state.

DATA SOURCES
The data for the analysis of changes in Goa’s marine sector is mainly drawn from the Department of Fisheries. Data regarding exports has been obtained from Marine Production Export and Development Agency (MPEDA) of Goa, Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Department of Planning and Statistics, Government of Goa. The main purpose is to determine the contribution of fishing industry to the Primary sector and to Net State Domestic Product of Goa. Secondly, Semi Log model and Linear Trend Models are used to graph the compounded growth rates for the quantity and value of the total catch of fish in Goa. Owing to unavailability of data over a fairly long range and for the purpose of simplicity and better clarity, the analysis covers the period since attainment of statehood i.e. 1986-87. Thirdly, for the purpose of Trend Analysis the data is halved, with each segment covering 9 years, 1985-93 and 1994-2002. Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship has not been established in this paper, the analysis gives enough scope for the same. Fourthly, the data regarding a few marine produce exporters from Goa and an analysis of their problems emerge from a survey and personal interviews, collected for a larger part of another related study. Like all studies, this piece too suffers from the limitations of relying on non-availability of sufficiently broad primary data and the resultant bias thereof.

FISHING INDUSTRY AND GOA’S ECONOMY
Marine fisheries is one of Goa’s major industries. Its significance lies in three main areas: as a source of animal protein for human consumption, as a source of employment, and as a source of foreign exchange earnings. The contribution of the fishing industry in generating employment cannot be underestimated. Barbosa (2002) points out that Goa has 71 fishing villages and 22,000 fishermen, while data provided by Government of Goa confirms that out of 11 talukas of the State, fishermen from 8 talukas are involved in fishing activities and fishermen from 42 villages are involved in marine fishing. The estimated population of fishermen in the state is over 30,000 and population of active fishermen is 12,000.

TRENDS IN FISH CATCH
The Goan fishing industry has been successful in keeping itself in tune with changing technology.
  • While the number of traditional fishing vessels has shrunk from 4,125 at Liberation to 1,963 today, mechanized vessels have seen a phenomenal increase from only 4 vessels in 1961 to 1134 vessels during the same period.
  • Until the 1950s fishing was predominantly with dugout canoes and boats with wooden rafts.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a slight improvement in fishing, increasing the size of the boat along with outboard engines fixed to the boat for deep-sea fishing.
  • During the 1980s and 1990s, 42-feeter trawlers and parse-science boats were introduced for advanced fishing, which can enter more than 100 kms into the sea and fish for more than 15 days to 1 month.
  • During the early 1990s advanced electronic equipment was introduced to identify fish shoals and operate fishing nets to increase the catch.
  • Currently the State has a registered fleet of 1,134 mechanized boats, 755 country crafts, 1,963 non-motorized country crafts and 6,463 nets; there are 5 fish landing centers and 14 fish landing ramps.
Table 1 presents the total fish catch (marine and inland) for the period 1997 to 2003. The total fish catch recorded remarkable growth from a meager 17,000 tons in 1961-1962 to around 28,000 tons in 1987-88 (after Statehood). It reached an all time high in 1992-93 when the catch touched 97,014 tons. However it has not touched that point again. The fish catch shows a qualitative and quantitative drop during the period 1992 to 2003. Except for two years, i.e. 1997 and 2003, the catch remained stagnant around the range of around 70,000 tons annually. Over-exploitation of marine resources and excessive mechanization were responsible for the fall in the quantity of fish catch during the period. But what keeps the industry going is that though the production has been more or less constant, the yield is sustainable. In terms of revenue from sale, fishermen have had no reasons to complain. With demand often more than the supply, fishermen are able to drive a hard bargain.

Table 1.Trends In Fish Catch (in tons) 1997-2003

Sr. No
Year
Marine Catch
Inland Catch
Total
(Base)
1987
27210
1430
28640
1
1997
91277
3270
94547
2
1998
67236
3474
70710
3
1999
60075
3365
63440
4
2000
64563
3570
68133
5
2001
69386
3749
73135
6
2002
67563
3684
71247
7
2003
90990
4321
95311

Source: The Economic Survey, Government of Goa, Various Issues

GROWTH OF MARINE EXPORTS FROM GOA
The relation between exports and economic growth is well researched and documented. Studies such as Michaely (1977), Sen (1977), Jung & Peyton (1985), Tripathy (1985), Singh (1985), Moschos (1989), Patnaik & Chandrashekar (1996), ICRIER (1999) and Nidugalu (2000) have empirically demonstrated such a relationship, providing international and domestic evidences. Goa has carved a niche for itself in the country’s exports owing to its exports of two primary products, minerals and marine products. To a large extent, the shifts in exports of marine products follow the national pattern. Till the end of 1960, the export of Indian marine products mainly consisted of dried items like dried fish, dried shrimp, shark fins, fish maws etc. Frozen items entered in the export basket in 1953 in negligible quantities. From 1961, the export of dried marine products was on decline and exports of processed items were making steady progress. With the devaluation of the Indian rupee in 1966, frozen and canned items registered a significant rise. Markets for Indian products spread fast to developed countries from traditional buyers in developing countries. A large percentage of the fish produce in Goa is exported and thus earns a huge amount of foreign exchange for the country. Goa accounts for 40% of India's total prawn exports and generates about $15m a year. Since 1975, exports picked up, but under stiff competition and changing international tariffs there was a setback after 1986; the export market has however picked up again in 1991. The results in respect of compounded annual growth rate and trend in marine exports of Goa are presented below. In order to study the growth of exports, appropriate regression models are tested for the available data from 1985 – 2002. Tables 2 to 5 show the quantity of fish catch, and the quantum and value of exports over the period.
A semi log linear regression model is used in order to compute the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of fish catch, the quantity of exports and the value of exports for 1985 to 2002. The test reveals that the compound annual growth rates for fish catch, quantity of exports and value of exports are 5%, 15% and 17.3% respectively. All the three variables were found to be statistically significant at the 1% level.

Table 2: Trend Analysis of Goa’s Fish Catch, Quantity
of Exports and Value of Exports (1985-2002)

Variable

ß0

ßi

CAGR (%)

R2

Fish Catch

10.7
(58.93)

0.049
(2.94)*

5.0

0.35

Export
Quantity

7.23
(27.28)

0.14
(5.47)*

15.0

0.67

Export
Value

5.98
(14.65)

0.16
(4.28)*

17.3

0.53

Note: ß0 and ßi represent the coefficients of the constant and the time
variable respectively.
* and ** indicate significance at the 1% & 10% levels respectively

For the purpose of trend analysis, the data is divided into two periods, 1985 – 1993 and 1994 – 2002 (9 years each) and Linear Trend Model is estimated. Tables 3 and 4 show the trend analysis of Goa’s fish catch, quantity of export and value of exports for the data from 1985 – 1993 and 1994 – 2002 respectively.

Table 3: Trend Analysis of Goa’s Fish Catch, Quantity
of Exports and Value of Exports (1985 – 1993)

Variable
ß0
ßi
CAGR (%)
R2
Fish Catch
10.37
(98.66)
0.99
(6.37)*
1.691
0.85
Export
Quantity
6.91
(19.67)
0.18
(2.96)*
0.197
0.55
Export
Value
5.88
(8.60)
0.142
(1.17)
0.152
0.16

Note: ß0 and ßi represent the coefficients of the constant and the time
variable respectively.
* and ** indicate significance at the 1% and 10% levels respectively

Table 4: Trend Analysis of Goa’s Fish Catch, Quantity
of Exports and Value of Exports (1994 – 2002)

Variable
ß0
ßi
CAGR (%)
R2
Fish Catch
11.47
(13.19)
-0.005
(-0.088)
-4.987
0.001
Export
Quantity
9.68
(16.23)
-0.039
(-0.918)
-0.038
0.55
Export
Value
9.53
(16.54)
-0.07
(-1.93)**
-0.067
0.16

Note: ß0 and ßi represent the coefficients of the constant and the time
variable respectively.
* and ** indicate significance at the 1% and 10% levels respectively

Table 3 shows that the compound annual growth rates for fish catch, quantity of exports and value of exports were 169%, 19.7% and 15.2% respectively in the first period. The results for the second period, i.e. 1994 to 2002, indicate negative compound annual growth rates for the three variables at -0.5%, -3.8% and -6.7% respectively. Thus the fish catch increased continuously from 1985, mainly due to mechanization of fishing, but decreased from 1996, a fall that may be attributed to the non-observance of the ban period and over-exploitation.
The ban period was introduced from 1995 but was violated by many fishermen. The ban period from 1st June to 15th August was passed by the High Court mainly to protect the fish because this is the breeding period for fish. During the year 2002 the ban period was enforced very strictly. In addition to this ban period, mechanized fishing within an area of 5 km from the coast has been totally banned throughout the year to protect the interests of the traditional fishermen.

CONTRIBUTION OF FISHING INDUSTRY TO GOA’S ECONOMY
The contribution of the fishing industry to the development of the State economy may be measured in terms of:
  • its contribution to Net State Domestic Product (NSDP)
  • its share in the total output of the primary sector.
    Table 5 reveals that the share of fishing industry in NSDP since 1985 has never exceeded 3%.

Table 5: Contribution of Fishing Industry to
Net State Domestic Product

Year
NSDP of Fishing Industry at current prices (Rs. lakh)

Total NSDP
of Goa
(Rs. lakh)

Share of Fishing Industry in NSDP (%)
1985-86
1100
50896
2.16
1986-87
1254
60787
2.06
1987-88
1138
67048
1.70
1988-89
906
78140
1.16
1989-90
1158
91995
1.26
1990-91
1272
98651
1.29
1991-92
1336
103226
1.29
1992-93
2625
145939
1.80
1993-94
3914
188651
2.07
1994-95
4752
209554
2.27
1995-96
6864
242877
2.83
1996-97
7584
257389
2.95
1997-98
8649
312760
2.77
1998-99
12470
521215
2.39
1999-2000
10872
586212
1.85
2000-01
17456
615107
2.84
2001-02
15443
628584
2.46

Source: Statistical Handbook and The Economic Survey, Government of Goa
(Various Issues)