A recent survey indicates that 72% of Indians consume fish

It’s possible that the noticeable shift in non-vegetarian food consumption habits has altered the stereotype of Indians as mostly vegetarian people. Given the widespread rise in fish eating across the states, a recent research may upend dinner tables in India.

An astounding 72.1% of Indians, or 966.9 million people, include fish in their diets, according to a recent study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, and WorldFish.

According to the research “Fish Consumption in India: Patterns and Trend,” Tripura was the state with the highest fish consumption, while Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana had the lowest fish consumption, revealing a national gap in food preferences.

Furthermore, 53.5% of Keralans eat fish every day, more than any other state. Goa comes in second at 36.2%, West Bengal at 21.90%, Manipur at 19.70%, Assam at 13.10%, and Tripura at 11.50%. Kerala tops the nation in fish consumption.

With weekly consumption, Assam and Tripura top at 69%, followed by Odisha at 66.8%, West Bengal at 65.75%, Arunachal Pradesh at 65.25%, and Tamil Nadu at 58.2%.

According to the statistics, over 90% of people live in the Northeastern and Eastern states, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa, which suggests a high cultural preference for fish intake.

Over the last 15 years, Punjab has seen a decline in fish consumers of 3.9 percentage points, whereas Jammu and Kashmir has had the largest growth in fish consumption, at 20.9 percentage points.

The research also shows that in areas where fish consumption is lower overall, there is a greater disparity between the fish intake of men and women, which may mean that males are consuming fish outside the house.

In places like West Bengal, Kerala, and Tripura, where fish consumption is already high, there is no discernible variation in fish intake across genders.

Additionally, there is a discernible difference in food intake between those who eat fish and people who eat other non-vegetarian meals.

Dr. Arun Padiyar, the WorldFish Country Lead for India, promoted the inclusion of fish eating in nutrition and public health initiatives. “Adopting holistic and adaptable policies to enhance value chains can ensure the sustainability of our aquatic food systems and improve nutritional outcomes,” he said.

Nonetheless, India has one of the lowest per capita fish food supplies worldwide. Despite being the world’s third-largest fish-producing country—accounting for around 8% of global fish production—and the second-largest producer of aquaculture, it is ranked 129th out of 183 nations.

“Comprehensive research is essential to grasp how fish consumption intersects with sociodemographic and economic factors at the household level,” said Dr. J.K. Jena, Deputy Director General (Fisheries Science) of ICAR. It is critical for the wellbeing of our country to acknowledge the critical role that fish play in promoting food security and preventing undernutrition.”

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