Coastal fish assumes greater significance to the people of Goa and it forms an integral part of Govan life and culture as it forms one of the most important items of food for more than 90% of the population. Goa is a state with a coast line of 104 km (1.28% of Indian coast line of 8117 km) with numerous bays and headlands. The continental shelf area of Goa extends to about 10,000 km2 of about 100 fathoms depths. The marine fisheries sector (since it contributes 98% of the fish production) contributes to about 2.5% of the total GDP of the state (third position after West Bengal and A.P.) and 17.1% of the agricultural GDP of the State. Thus fishing industry of Goa plays a vital role in socio-economic development of Goa by contributing substantially towards Net State Domestic Product through export and domestic trade annually. In India fish eating population is about 56% of the total population (Planning Commission, Govt. of India), Percapita fish consumption is about 8.49 kg. Goa contributes to about 1.85% of the total marine fish landings of our country (CMFRI, 2012).
The contribution of fisheries sector to the total GDP of Goa is found to be 2.46% and there is a decline in the contribution of the fisheries sector to the GDP. On the other hand, the fisheries sector has improved its contribution to the agricultural GDP in the last decade from 16.85% in 1999-2000 to 33.91% in 2007-08. Thus the fisheries sector plays a significant role in the agricultural sector of the state.
Goa’s Marine fishery sector provides livelihood to a large number of people in Goa. Altogether more than 5% of total working population is engaged in fishing and allied activities. Moreover, Fisheries industry forms the second largest industry both in terms of employment and income. Besides the actual process of fishing, a number of ancillary and subsidiary activities like marketing, processing and small scale vending will also create livelihood for a number of people.
The major marine fisheries resources of Goa includes Indian oil sardine, Indian mackerel, cat fish, Sharks, seer fish, shrimps, pomfrets, cephalopods (cuttle fish and squid), tuna, ribbon fish, reef cod, white sardine, silver bellies, flat fish, Silver bar, crabs, croakers and butter fish. However, the key resources which dominate the marine fishery of Goa are Indian oil sardine, Sardinella longiceps and Indian mackerel, Rastrelliger kanagurta. They contribute about 48% of the total marine fishery of Goa. Indian oil sardine contributes to about 33.6% of the total marine fisheries resource landings in Goa (mean value during 2001-2010) and Indian mackerel contributes about 15.7% of the total marine fisheries resource landings in Goa. It is reported that about 212 marine fish and shell fish species are found in the marine landings along Goa (Sreekanth et al., 2014 unpublished). The numbers of pelagic, demersal, crustacean and molluscan species identified were 81, 97, 24 and 10 respectively.