India’s first Aquatic Rainbow Technology Park (ARTP) in Chennai, an ultra modern exclusive facility for ornamental fish equipped with multi-species hatchery and live feed culture units, will become operational in the next three months, fulfilling a major requirement of the industry for mass production of high value aquarium fish.
The facility is being developed by Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, the second largest exporter of ornamental fish after West Bengal. After the completion, it will be handed over to ornamental fish breeders and farmers on lease for three years.
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), a nodal agency of the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry, has been a part of the steering committee for the project.
The Rs 10-crore facility, being funded by the Tamil Nadu Innovation Initiatives of the state government, will be equipped with advanced infrastructure and technical expertise for boosting production of high value ornamental fish species, both indigenous and exotic, said MPEDA Chairman Dr A. Jayathilak during the three-day Aqua Aquaria India (AAI) 2017, which concluded here this evening.
It would also develop breeding technologies for high value indigenous ornamental fish species and ensure quality fish seeds in bulk quantities, he added.
The other thrust areas of the project are development of new technologies for an uninterrupted supply of live feeds and advanced disease diagnosis and treatment mechanism.
Further, ARTP will have a quarantine lab where exotic fish varieties imported from other countries would be treated for bacterial and viral infections. The entire facility will be provided to fish growers in and around Chennai, especially Kolathur, to equip them with the expertise on handling disease outbreaks.
Dr. Jayathilak said MPEDA has also been extending financial assistance and technical expertise to various states in the area of freshwater and marine ornamentals. During 2015-16, the agency assisted in establishing four units in Himachal Pradesh with a financial involvement of Rs. 23.79 lakhs.
States and Union Territories like Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep have also chalked out plans on hi-tech ornamental fish hatchery. “MPEDA can assist these states in the execution of their plans by providing complete technical assistance,” he pointed out.
Elaborating, he said an official team from Rajasthan had visited MPEDA and its assisted ornamental fish breeding units earlier this year in connection with setting up India’s first Centre of Excellence for breeding ornamental fishes at Bisalpur in Tonk district.
The Centre has recently launched a pilot project on ornamental fisheries under the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) with an outlay of Rs. 61.89 crore. It has identified eight states for the project — Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Dr. Jayathilak said MPEDA would be working in close coordination with NFDB. “We can also impart the necessary technical guidance, wherever required,” he added.
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