The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute was established by Government of India on February 3rd 1947 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and later it joined the ICAR family in 1967. During the course of over 65 years the Institute has emerged as a leading tropical marine fisheries research institute in the world.
Since its inception, the CMFRI grew significantly in its size and stature and built up adequate research infrastructure and recruited qualified staff. During the first half of the five decades of its existence, the CMFRI devoted its research attention towards the estimation of marine fisheries landings and effort, taxonomy of marine organisms and the bio-economic characteristics of the exploited stocks of finfish and shellfish. This research effort contributed significantly to India’s marine fisheries development from a predominantly artisanal, sustenance fishery till the early sixties to that of a complex, multi-gear, multispecies fisheries.
One of the major achievements of CMFRI is the development and refinement of a unique method for estimation of fishery catch and effort from the over 8000 km coastline called the "Stratified Multistage Random Sampling Method”. With this methodology the Institute is maintaining the National Marine Fisheries Data Centre (NMFDC) with over 9 million catch and effort data records from all maritime states of India of more than 1000 fished species.
During the early nineteen seventies, the CMFRI realized that capture fisheries production alone would not be able to cater to the needs of our growing population and it became very clear that there was need to supplement capture fisheries with production from coastal mariculture and sea farming. Consequently, a major part of the research effort was diverted towards sea farming and coastal mariculture and this effort paid rich dividends in the form of viable farm and hatchery technologies for shrimp, edible oyster, mussel, clam and seaweeds and marine pearls. Besides, human resources in mariculture was successfully developed through the Postgraduate Programme in Mariculture, offering MFSc and PhD courses.
Subsequently, with the infrastructure and expertise built over half a century and looking towards the future needs of the nation, CMFRI began to undertake research in new areas like marine finfish farming, biotechnology and biodiversity. Along with this, fisheries management plans for each maritime state were formulated and the institute addressed climate change issues affecting coastal habitats and fishers. In the mariculture front, commercial bivalve farming became a popular women empowerment programme in the beginning of this century. The new knowledge and technologies developed in finfish farming have been transferred to end users and many cutting edge technologies have been patented in marine biotechnology.
The Institute's multidisciplinary approach to research in marine capture and culture fisheries has won it recognition as a premier institute comparable to any well-established marine laboratory in the world.