The deep sea around Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the numerous inlets, bays and creeks are the above of marine resources, with the declaration of 20 miles beyond the coast-line as our Economic zone, Andaman and Nicobar islands has a vast area around it for exploitation of the untapped marine resources. On the western side, the entire 200 miles' extent can be exploited. On the other three sides, Andaman and Nicobar islands has to equally share the sea space with the neighboring countries. Various assessments were made in the past by the Indian experts on the availability of marine resources in the seas, surrounding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but no systematic study has so far been made to know the actual quantum of resources available for utilization. On this basis, the total net weight of the resources available is estimated to be about 1.07 million tones. The marine resources of Andaman and Nicobar Islands may broadly be divided into two groups as fish and shell.
It has been estimated that an area of 1,19,600 sq. miles around these islands has potential for fishing. The assessed fishery resource in this area is between 5 to 10 lakhs tones of fish per annum. But it is reported that the present catch in these islands is only 9692 tonnes. This clearly indicates that there exists a vast scope for the development, exploitation and utilization of the fish resources of these islands. Sardines and mackerels, the two important varieties of fish, are found towards the shore and can be exploited by the small boats using pursesuines and other nets. The entire region is full of sharks. The rocky bottom has great potential for percoid fishes(porches). According to a survey of marine resources, conducted very recently by the Government of India Exploratory Fisheries Project and the Fisheries Department, it has come to light that a large number of varieties of fish having commercial values are available.
Three important species of the Tuna are found in the waters of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- 1. Skip jack (Katusuwpnus pelmis)
- 2. Yellow fin (Tbunnus neothunnus) (Albaesies macrpierus)
- 3. Big eye (Thunnus Parathunnus) (Obsus mebachi)
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is on abode of innumerable species of the shells of various shapes and colors. Some of them have very high commercial value and many others form excellent show pieces. Turbo and Troches, the two species having high commercial values, are collected in plenty and are sent / exported to the mainland. The shells are used as raw materials in the shell Handicraft industrial units which is a growing sector. The fancy articles like necklace, bracelets, lamp shades and other ornaments are manufactured by units. These items attract both domestic and foreign tourists. Besides the shells, Five finger Chanks, Sacred Chanks, Pearly Oysters, Mussels, Clams, Cowries and numerous other varieties of high value and gastropod shells are found all along the shores. Their flesh is generally tasty and some are delicious. One more evidence to show the abundance of the marine resources is the apprehension of the foreign vessels by Coast Guard, Navy and Police Department when they entered the coastal area of Andaman and Nicobar islands for fishing.