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twitter-logoPTI | May 22, 2018 | Updated 19:27 IST

Successfully demonstrated open pond culture of Asian Seabass Kochi,May 22 (PTI) The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) today said it has successfully demonstrated open pond culture of Asian Seabass,which can significantly increase yield of this delectable much-in-demand seafood, with huge export potential. The demonstration was made by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre of Aquaculture (RGCA), the Research & Development (R&D) arm of MPEDA at its demonstration farm at Karaikal in Puducherry. Seabass, which is reared through cage culture, fetches a price of more than Rs 400 a kg in the domestic market. Under the open pond culture method, its yield can go up to nine tons per hectare and help small and marginal farmers adopt this method in a cost-effective manner. MPEDA ChairmanA Jayathilak, who witnessed the first catch of huge sizes of Seabass fish (average weight of 1.5 to 2.00 kg) and 1.10 tons being caught in a single haul from the Karaikanal demonstration farm, said it would be the best alternate species for shrimp, which contributes more than 70 per cent of seafood exports. "Diversified aquaculture is the key for sustainability. This kind of diversified fish has potential to significantly add to the seafood export basket.Production of upto 9 tons per hectare is really encouraging. In future, production will be scaled up by keeping in mind the sustainability and eco-friendly culture practices," he said in a release here. He said the technology for commercial production of these species would be made available to farmers very soon by RGCA. Jayathilak,also RGCA President said cage culture in ponds is a suitable method for growing Seabass, but investment costs are high and small and marginal farmers cannot afford it. "But the open pond culture method can help these small farmers without much investment. The new method was tried for the first time in Karaikal and it proved successful," he said. The four hectare demonstration farm belongs to the Puducherry government and was leased out to RGCA in 2000, which has achieved a string of milestones since then. A number of farmers, students and researchers from India, besides scientists and entrepreneurs from countries like U.S.A., Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, have visited this farm, which is the best demonstration farm for Seabass and mud crab and the most ideal place for learning techniques and hands-on training, he said. So far, around 2,000 participants have been trained in this farm. Jayathilak said RGCA is concentrating research on seed production, nursery rearing and grow-out methods of various species like Cobia, Artemia, Scampi, Tilapia, Pompano, Grouper and Red Snapper fishes for both brackish and marine waters. While GIFT Tilapia is suited for fresh water aquaculture, mudcrab and Artemia are also the best species for diversified aquaculture, which suits women entrepreneurs, especially self-help groups, he said. Marine products export has been projected at Rs 11.35 lakh Million Tonnes worth six billion dollars in 2017-18,which is USD 300 million more than USD 5.7 billion last year. "However, it is centric to shrimp which contributes more than 70 per cent.The new open pond culture method will greatly spur the diversification of Indias aquaculture sector," Jayathilak said. PTI TGB APR APR APR

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