Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has outlined a comprehensive plan to boost the mariculture sector of the country, saying that offshore cage farming is the immediate focus using bigger cages.
He was speaking during his visit to the Vizhinjam Regional Centre of the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
“Cage fish farming is to be expanded to the offshore waters with better cage designs having a size of 30 diameters or above that can accommodate lakhs of juveniles, ” the Union Minister said. Currently, cage farming is undertaken in nearshore waters using the 6-diameter cages.
He added that CMFRI should spearhead research and development efforts in creating these advanced cages. “This is expected to significantly boost mariculture production in the country”, the Minister said.
Seed production in PPP mode
He also urged CMFRI to expand seed production technologies for finfishes to all the coastal states utilising the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. This would help address the seed constraints and make available the required seeds to the fish farmers all over the country.
The Minister indicated that the central government would soon come up with a Mariculture Leasing Policy to ensure the sustainable use of mariculture resources.
“This will ensure that mariculture operations are located in suitable areas and they do not cause environmental damage”, he said.
Pearl Oyster production
Shri Parshottam Rupala also underscored the untapped potential of Pearl Oyster production, urging CMFRI to take a proactive role in scaling up its production in a bigger way. Acknowledging the critical role of hatchery technologies in supporting large-scale Pearl Oyster production, he emphasized the necessity of research and innovation in this area.
Furthermore, the Union Minister proposed a pioneering sea ranching programme of the hatchery-produced spats of the pearl oyster along the Tuticorin coast, which would be executed under the guidance of the CMFRI. Traditionally known as “Pearl City” on account of the prevailing pearl fisheries in the past in the area, Thoothukudi has a fascinating history which was an international cynosure in the days of yore for its pearl fishery.
Referring to the high prospects of marine ornamental fishery, he suggested that effective marketing avenues should be developed for marine ornamentals. The Minister urged the CMFRI to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to establish effective marketing strategies. This would provide an economic boost to the marine ornamental industry, he added.
The Union Minister was accompanied by Dr L Murugan, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs.