KOCHI, 29 January 2018 : The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has kick-started a major project for boosting the open sea cage farming in Indian waters, setting a stage for the Blue Revolution.
Turning to bolster the mariculture activities in the country in the wake of a stagnation experiencing in the capture fishery, the CMFRI started the first phase of the project to train the fishermen in all the maritime States on open sea cage farming.
The project envisages accelerating the process for ushering in the Blue Revolution by providing effective training to 5000 fishermen across the country with a financial support of nearly Rs 1 crore from the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
In the first phase of the project, a three-day training programme began at the CMFRI in Kochi on Monday. As many as 50 fishermen from Ernakulam and Thrissur districts who have registered with the Kerala Fishermen’s Welfare Fund Board are attending the training. As part of the project, CMFRI will provide training to 1000 fishermen in Kerala.
While speaking on the inauguration of the training programme, the CMFRI Director Dr A Gopalakrishnan said the cage fish farming technology has proved 70 times more productive than the normal methods of the fish farming in ponds.
“Conventional pond culture of marine fishes produce an average 0.5 kg/m3 (5000 kg/ha) whereas cage farming offers a production of 35 kg/m3”, he said.
Referring to the scarcity of the fish seed required for boosting the cage fish farming, Dr Gopalakrishnan said CMFRI has already commenced the works to establish a brood bank of high value marine fishes suitable to the cage farming with a financial support of Rs 9 crore from the NFDB.
“CMFRI will extend all technical support to the fishermen to start cage farming enterprises in the open sea waters which will become an additional income to the fishermen and will help increase the marine fish production of the country”, he said adding that CMFRI’s door would be always open to the fishermen community.
Deputy Director of Fisheries S Mahesh, who inaugurated the training programme said the State Fisheries Department had formulated plans to extend the cage fish farming in Kerala sea waters along with the technical support of the CMFRI.
“As many as four cage farming units, including 10 cages each, have already been identified to do the cage farming with an estimate of Rs 82 lakhs. According to the plan, the State government will provide Rs 75 lakhs to the units and the remaining 7 lakhs will be raised by the beneficiary groups formed by the fishermen”, he said.
Mariculture Division of the CMFRI is coordinating the training programme to fishermen. Dr Imelda Joseph, Head of Mariculture Division said the country should turn to mariculture such as open sea cage farming to meet the growing demand for fish. “It is presumed that by 2030, fish consumption in developing and developed countries is expected to increase by 57% and 4% respectively”, she said adding that the open sea cage farming proved economically viable as it required comparatively less cost of capital input.
The species such as cobia, seabass, groupers, snappers, mullet, lobster and pearl spot are highly suitable for cage farming in sea waters, Imelda Joseph said. “It is expected that the sea cage farming will get a major boost once the National Mariculture Policy is notified and comes in force in the country in near future”, she added.