CMFRI finds possible locations for marine cage farming in coastal states
The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has come up with plans to improve mariculture activities in all of the country’s coastal states. This will help the people who live there by giving them more ways to make a living.
Director A Gopalakrishnan announced the plan at the start of a 21-day ‘Winter School’ on mariculture for researchers and academicians at the CMFRI, saying the institute has identified and geo-referenced 146 potential sites for sea cage farming within 10 km of the coast along the Indian coastal line, with a production potential of 2.13 million tonnes per year.
Four sites from Kerala cover an area of about 1300 hectares. Previously, the institute identified 342 possible seaweed farming locations with a total annual output capacity of 9.7 million tonnes (wet weight).
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CMFRI has created and standardized indigenous sea cage farming technology for Indian coastal and open waterways. In an 8-month timeframe, a 6-diameter cage may yield up to 3 tonnes of fish on average. “According to CMFRI, farmers could make an economic return ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 lakh depending on the species grown from each crop,” he said.
Aside from sea cage farming, CMFRI has proven successful technologies for seaweed farming and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA)—an innovative practice combining seaweed and mussel farming with cage fish farming—for income multiplication and employment empowerment among the country’s coastal people, according to Gopalakrishnan.
According to the CMFRI Director, India’s present mariculture production is less than 0.1 million tonnes per year, despite a potential of 4 to 8 million tonnes. He stated that the successful expansion of inland and brackishwater aquaculture in the country may be capitalized on to gradually increase mariculture production.
Kuldeep K Lal, Director of the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), who inaugurated the ‘Winter School,’ advised scientists to focus on indigenous technology and local fish species that would bring wealth to the common people. Developing appropriate technologies with a clear goal would help to improve the quality of life for those living in rural areas.
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The 21-day Winter School aims to popularise CMFRI’s mariculture technology by training a diverse group of researchers from across the country. The program is attended by 22 researchers from seven different countries.
According to Imelda Joseph, the Winter School’s Course Director, popularising mariculture technology will provide employment prospects for the coastal population and pave the route for women’s empowerment.