At a press conference here, he also congratulated the Clam Governing Council of Ashtamudi Lake for becoming the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery in India and the third in Asia.
    
According to the Union Environment and Forests Minister, the recognition also highlights the participatory approach at the local level in managing biodiversity and would mean that implementation of measures to ensure valuable resource was not overfished and its ecosystem was protected.
    
He added that this achievement also opens up the scope for other fisheries in India to work towards MSC certification, which would enhance conservation and sustainability of the resource, while providing greater economic returns.
    
MSC, an international non-profit organisation set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis, runs the only certification and eco-labeling programme for wild-capture fisheries.
    
Ashtamudi Lake, a Ramsar Wetland of international importance, is the second largest estuarine system in Kerala. The growth of Ashtamudi's commercial fishery was driven by demand from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s.
    
By 1991, the catch peaked at 10,000 tonnes a year, but declined 50 per cent in 1993 due to overfishing, a statement here said. Closed season fishing and mesh size restrictions for nets were introduced, along with a minimum export size and a prohibition on mechanical clam fishing.
    
These measures showed immediate effects, and clam fishery has sustained landings of around 10,000 tonnes a year for the past decade, the statement said.

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