August 15, 2020
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Modadugu Vijay Gupta

A pioneer of Southeast Asia’s blue revolution, this fisheries scientist has won the ’05 World Food Prize

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Modadugu Vijay Gupta
Modadugu Vijay Gupta
Tell us about the work that got you the prize.
It's on doubling fish production using low-cost inputs like compost, weeds, etc; technologies for culturing fish in seasonal ponds, roadside canals in Bangladesh; research on fast-growing strains of fish.

Is fish really the poor peoples' food or their livelihood?
Fish gives 50-80 per cent of animal protein intake to the poor. It's also their livelihood. Declining catches are leading to malnutrition.

Since many Indians are vegetarian, aquaculture is yet to catch on in a big way...
Our per capita consumption is about 4 kg/year (global average is 15 kg). Still, India is the second largest producer (one million tonnes) after China.

Are we doing well in exports?
We have good potential, especially in shrimp.

Who are the leaders in Asia?
China, Thailand and Taiwan, besides India.

How bad is the over-exploitation of fish?
Fish stocks all over have reached their maximum sustainable yields. India is no exception. Going back to normal will take time.

Is fish farming harmful to the environment?
If done properly, it isn't. Environment-friendly aquaculture is the slogan of the decade.

Fish varieties like hilsa are endangered?
Over-exploitation and changes in habitat have caused a sharp fall in hilsa population.

Isn't fish healthier than meat?
Fish is rich in a number of vitamins. People all over the world are moving from red meat to fish.

Do you eat fish?
My wife is a vegetarian, so I eat fish when I'm away from home.

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