Brackish water cage farming of sea bass fish for enhancing fish production and alternate livelihood support of coastal population in Tamil Nadu: a Success story by ICAR- CIBA, Chennai

Farming of brackish water fishes in locally crafted cages suitable for estuaries, creeks, back waters and lagoons is an emerging innovative and viable technology for the production of valuable finfish such as seabass. The technology is efficient in utilizing the vast stretches of brackish water resources along the costal India for increased fish production, employment creation and income generation, falls under the vision of Indian Govt. under the blue revolution. In this direction, the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackish water Aquaculture(ICAR-CIBA), Chennai which is nodal research institution for the development of brackish water aquaculture in collaboration with the National Institute of Ocean Technology(NIOT), Chennai has successfully demonstrated cage farmi9ng of Asian seabass fish (Lates cal carifer) in the Buckingham canal waters at vennangupattu coastal village in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. CIBA mobilized the fisher youths from the villages. Skill development training has been provided as part of attracting and retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) initiative of ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA), Chennai which is the nodal research institution for the development of brackish water aquaculture  in collaboration with the National Institute of Ocean National Technology (NIOT), Chennai has successfully demonstrated cage farming of Asian sea bass fish (Lates calcarifer) in the Buckingham canal waters at Vennangupattu coastal village in Kanchaeepuram District of Tamil Nadu. CIBA mobilized the fisher youths form the villages. Skill development training has been development training has been provided as part of Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) initiative of ICAR-CIBA partnering with NIOT on cage designing, fabrication, installation, nursery rearing and farming of fishes in cages. Subsequently facilitated  them to form a self help group which they named as Dr.A.P.J. Abdulkalam Fish Producers Self Help Group, to take up the cage farming in the backwater in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Novels three tier model comprising nursery rearing, pre-grow out and grow out cages were taken up in a phased manner. Asian sea bass fish was chosen as culture species due to its growth potential, availability of seed and feed and higher market value. The farming cycle began with stocking of fish fry initially in the nursery cages, they are grown to fingerlings size in 45-60 days(7-8 cm size), transferred from nurseries to pre grow out cage and then 90-100g juveniles form pre-grow out were transferred to from out cages for further  rearing. The stocking density adopted was 12kg per/m3. The fishes were fed with CIBA’S formulated indigenous feed respectively @10-8%, 4-6% and 2-4% of their body weight in nursery, pre-grow-out and grow out stages. The average Feed Conversion Raito
(FCR) realized was 1.85:1 (1.85 kg feed to produce 1kg fish). The juveniles were grown to a marketable size of 900g- 1.25 kg in 6 months. A productivity of 460kg was realized in two partial harvests in one cycle. Two cycles of production can be taken in a year. The production cost was worked out to be Rs. 190 per kg of fish and sale price was Rs.380 per kg with a B: C ratio of 2.0. The fish producers were linked to Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation a state government body which procures fishes from producers giving farm gate price and sale to the consumers through its outlets.

A harvest cum interaction meet was organized at the farming site at Vennangupattu village, on 4th August, 2017.  About 120 fisheries including fisherwomen and school children in the neighbourhood participated in the event and witnessed the harvest. Dr.K.K.Vijayan Director, ICAR-CIBA handed over the revenue generated from the sale of fish produced to eh group during the meeting. He expressed that the three-tier cage farming has proved to be successful model and opined that the group members can divide themselves in to three units to look after one component each and one unit can sell their produce to the other unit for further rearing so that everyone can get income in 3-4 months. Revenue due ot the women members of the group who have reared the fish fry to fingerlings size (Stage1) which is a critical task was handed over to them during the event. Localized designing of cages for the brackishwaters has been done by NIOT team led by Dr. R.Kirubagaran, Head, Marine BIOTECHNOLOGY Division, NIOT, Chennai and coordinator form BIOT side. Fisheries being  the state subject, state fisheries department extended the full support  and Mrs. Chandra, Joint Director of Fisheries, Tamil Nadu witnessed viable technology fo rhte state fisheries department which will be taken up for popularization to other coastal districts fo the state. Similarly, Shri. Ajay Anand, Joint Director of Fisheries, Pondic herry Union Territory has informed that their department has already initiated a work plan with CIBA to take up cage farming in the backwaters of  Pondicherry Union Territory. This concept adopted a ‘logical technology transfer mode’ starting with skill development, provision of inputs for once cycle, successful cage rearing and production, three-tier cage farming model of is a win-win model available for fishersas an alternative livelihood option, and also an employment opportunity for ht unemployed youthasserted Dr.M.Kuamran, Principal Scientist and coordinator of the programme.


Source : Aquatech

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