Underling the importance of fresh water aquaculture, the Minister said that the species diversification in the recent years has led to development of technology of breeding and hatchery management of several important species for fresh water aquaculture. Establishment of ‘Brood bank’ for commercially important species at Bhubaneswar by the NFDB is expected to ensure production and supply of certified broods to hatcheries in the country. The cage culture in reservoirs has picked up very well in recent years. The feasibility of inland saline aquaculture in the States of Haryana, Punjab and Utter Pradesh has opened up scope for bringing the land unfit for agricultural activity under economic use. In order to augment production of freshwater aquaculture, Guidelines have been issued for regulating introduction and culture of Tilapia as well as Pangasius species and also for Shrimp species L. vannamei.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh apprised the members of the committee of development in Fisheries sector. He said that the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) has standardized pen and cage farming for some species which offer vast potential for inland aquaculture in the country i.e. Pangasius and Indian Major Carp. The production potential from sustainable cage culture is about 50 kg / m3 and from pens is about 3500-5400 kg / ha /6 months with huge potential for up-scaling. It is expected that large scale adoption of the technologies of breeding and seed production by the farmers across the country shall lead to sustainable freshwater aquaculture leading towards ‘Blue Revolution’ in the country.
The Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister said that Commercial farming of high value cold water species like brown trout and the exotic rainbow trout and exotic cold water carps has been taken up successfully in some of the hill States. For development of cold water fishery Directorate of Cold water Fisheries Research (DCFR) has been established at Bhimtal. In order to encourage and promote establishment of Shrimp Broodstock Multiplication Centres (BMCs) for increasing production and productivity of shrimp aquaculture, Guidelines for regulating establishment and operation of Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Shrimp BMCs in the coastal areas have been issued. In addition, the Guidelines have also been formulated for the import of Seabass fingerlings for culture by private entrepreneurs/enterprises.
The Minister said that Brackish water aquaculture is another potential area of fish production. India has 1.2 million ha of brackish water area spread over 10 maritime States / UTs. The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) is regulating the activities in saline and brackish water systems within 2.0 kms from the High Tide Line for sustainable development of coastal aquaculture sector. Introduction of commercial farming of exotic shrimp L. vannamei through CAA by adopting strict regulations and bio-security requirements has witnessed a spectacular growth in the sector. The regular awareness programs, availability of technologies pertaining to management practices, seed production, balanced feed etc along with private investment has made the brackish water aquaculture sector a vibrant industry. The sector is a major contributor to the fisheries export. Mariculture offers enormous scope for commercial farming of marine plants and animals in marine or brackish water environments in the main land and Island territories. The DAHD&F has undertaken a pilot project on sea cage units in different maritime states in collaboration with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi for species such as cobia, pompano and groupers. Based on the outcome of the pilot study, States shall be assisted for setting up of open sea cages in both the East and West coast.
Stressing the need of development of fresh water, the Minister said that India has 5.4 million ha of inland water bodies, 1.2 million ha for brackish water fish culture and 8.5 million ha for sea farming and a rich biodiversity to harness aquaculture farming in fresh, brackish water and marine water bodies. Considering the vast potential aquaculture needs to be developed further in a sustainable manner for economic prosperity, for empowerment of fishermen, to generate employment and for food and nutritional security, especially protein malnutrition, by introducing new technologies for responsible and sustainable utilization of resources in an eco friendly manner, he added.