Indian Council of Agricultural Research


Advisory support to fish farmers during Lockdown due to COVID-19

Scientists  available to provide guidance over phone/mail/ Whattsapp, to the fish farmers during Lockdown due to COVID-19.





Mob. Number



Dr Vinod, K

Principal Scientist

Ecosystem health/ Biodiversity conservation



Dr Shilta, M. T


Cage culture



Dr P.K.Asokan

Principal Scientist

Bivalve farming



Dr. Ritesh Ranjan





Dr. Santhosh B

Principal Scientist




Shri. Ambarish





Dr. Rengarajan  Jayakumar

Principal Scientist

Marine fish farming



Dr. K.K. Anikuttan


Marine fish farming



Dr. G. Tamilmani

Senior Scientist

Marine Fish Breeding



Dr. M. Sakthivel

Senior Scientist

Sea cage farming



Dr. P. Ramesh Kumar


Fish Health



Dr.Shinoj Subramannian

Senior Scientist/SIC KVK of CMFRI Ernakulam

Krishi Vigyan Kendra of CMFRI, Ernakulam



Dr.Vikas PA

Subject Matter Specialist,  KVK of CMFRI Ernakulam





ICAR-CMFRI launches GIS based info of vicinity of fish landing centres to COVID-19 hotspots

 ICAR-CMFRI launches GIS based info of vicinity of fish landing centres to COVID-19 hotspots

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The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi has launched a novel initiative that would enable online GIS tracking of the marine fish landing centres and their proximity to the COVID-19 hotspots in different maritime states. The online GIS based database, which depicts the vicinity of marine fish landing centres to the COVID-19 hotspots in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, would become crucial in monitoring the activities at various marine fishing landing centres in the country on a daily basis. The work is in progress to incorporate the information on landing centres in other maritime states too in the database. The database offers visualisation of the marine fish landing centres in these states in various colour groups in accordance with their geographical proximity with the COVID-19 hotspots/containment zones within coastal districts, identified by the government. The landing centres have been categorised in different groups according to their distance with the hotspots and the information is updated on daily basis based on the information received from respective state governments.


The first category, which requires priority in taking precautionary measures, includes fish landing centres located within 3 km of the hotspot. The landing centres at a distance of 3 to 5 km with the hotspots fall in second category, whereas the third category includes landing centres at a distance of 5 to 10 km from the identified hotspots.


Practical utility of the initiative: The GIS database will greatly help authorities and policy makers to monitor the daily activities and help them easily understand the fish landing centres where strict safety measures are to be imposed and fish harbours where safety measures could be relaxed. This can be identified simply by a click at the infographics published by the ICAR-CMFRI at its website- This will help the concerned authorities for strategic execution of safety measures in accordance with their vicinity to the COVID-19 hotspots.


The news has got immediate international attention and quoted as one of the top stories of the day by,the global seafood industry’s most trusted resource for international seafood news (


* * * CMFRI Infographics * * *

Vicinity of Fish Landing Centres to COVID-19 Hotspots in Kerala

ICAR-CMFRI kick-starts new farming challenge towards food security

ICAR-CMFRI kick-starts new farming challenge towards food security

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The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), in association with the Ernakulam Krishi Vigyan Kendra, kick-started a new farming challenge among government organisations towards food security. The model initiative includes farming of tubers and pulses along with vegetables in an area of around 3-acre barren land in its premises of residential complex in Kochi city. The massive drive assumes significance in the wake of discussions on urgent need of self-reliance in food production in Kerala, thanks to COVID-19 pandemic.   

Shri. V S Sunil Kumar, Minister for Agriculture, Kerala government launched the farming by planting ginger saplings on 14th May 2020. The farming, which is undertaken by ICAR-CMFRI Krishilokam club that includes scientific and non-scientific staff of the Institute and their families, is part of popularising the concept of production of safe food through farming without depending others in the backdrop of the COVID-19. The farming followed mechanised practices for preparation of the land under the technical guidance of Ernakulam KVK.  

In his presidential address, Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI said the initiative is primarily aimed at intensifying the drive for achieving self-reliance in producing safe food in Kerala and setting a model for other government institutions in the State. Priority was given to crops such as tubers and pulses as they could act as alternates to survive during the time of famine as that was the case in the past. Pulses are cultivated in the background that Kerala is completely depending on other states for its vegetable protein requirement. These kinds of farming models initiated under the aegis of government institutions would send a positive message to the public in such a way encouraging them to take up farming. The harvested crops will be distributed through the Farm Shoppe of the KVK located at the CMFRI, he said

KVK starts helpline  

The Ernakulam KVK functioning under the ICAR-CMFRI commenced a helpline though which experts would be providing guidance in farming, including aquaculture and animal rearing, to other organisations. Agricultural machineries available with the KVK could be used by them for land preparation and other practices. 

Speaking after the launch of the farming, Kerala Minister for Agriculture V S Sunil Kumar requested the Ernakulam KVK to design and demonstrate a working model of the mini rice mill required for each paddy field. According to him, the major crisis faced by the medium paddy famers in Kerala is the lack of such mini rice mills. KVK may take up this task on experimental basis with the support of the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPOs) associated with it. Once this model proves success, the Kerala government will set up such mills across the state, the minister said. He also said that efforts to take up farming as a livelihood should be intensified to face the post COVID-19 period. Other government institutions should follow the model of the ICAR-CMFRI which would help popularise the farming in a better way, he added. 

ICAR-CMFRI finds rare scorpion fish with venomous spines and ability to change colour

ICAR-CMFRI finds rare scorpionfish with venomous spines and ability to change colour

In a major development that would enthuse lovers of marine life, the researchers at the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have found alive a rare fish, that changes colour and carries neurotoxic venom in its spines, for the first time in Indian waters. Camouflaged within the seagrass meadows, the band-tail scorpionfish (Scorpaenospsis neglecta) was found off Sethukari coast in the Gulf of Mannar during an underwater exploratory survey of the seagrass ecosystem in the region by the ICAR-CMFRI scientists. 

Ability to change colour

This very rare fish has a handful of characteristics that may draw the attention of marine enthusiasts. It has ability to change its colour and blend with its surrounding environment to escape from predators and while preying.  During the underwater survey, this species was first sighted as a coral skeleton. On the first look, its appearance was totally confusing and the researchers doubted if it was a fish or fossilised coral skeleton covered with bivalve shells. It started changing its colour since the moment they disturbed it by touching a dead coral fragment.  It was noticed that within four seconds, the skin of the fish changed from white to mottled black colour. Dr R. Jeyabaskaran, Senior Scientist at ICAR-CMFRI led the team of researchers.

 Immediately after it was caught by hand using zip-lock polyethylene bag, the fish flashed the pectoral fins and the inner side of these fins came in full view exhibiting bright yellow colour with black band margin. 

The fish is called ‘scorpionfish’ because its spines contain neurotoxic venom. When the spines pierce an individual, the venom gets injected immediately and it can be extremely painful. Eating this fish would lead to fatal death. 

Lightning speed 

A nocturnal feeder, the band-tail scorpionfish lays motionless in the sea bottom and waits for the prey to come close to it. Most of them feed during night time with an ability to attack and suck its prey in lightning speed. Having a highly powerful sensory system, the fish could even detect respiratory ventilation flows produced by crabs at a distance of 10 cm in dark environment. Unlike other fishes, band-tail scorpionfish uses its lateral sensory system instead of eyes to hunt its prey.  This fish mainly feeds on small benthic fishes like gobies and blennies, crustaceans and other benthic macro invertebrates.  

The specimen was deposited in the National Marine Biodiversity Museum of the ICAR-CMFRI. This research work was published in the latest issue of the journal Current Science. 

Tribes get bumper harvest of cage farmed pearl spot under TSP project

Tribes get bumper harvest of cage farmed pearl spot  under TSP project 

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A group of fish farmers from the tribal community Ulladen tribes near North Paravoor, Ernakulam in Kerala have had a bumper harvest of cage farmed pearl spot under the guidance of the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). A harvest mela was held at Perumpadanna, Kalluchira of Ezhikkara Panchayat in North Paravoor on 2nd June 2020. 

A real livelihood option, the cage culture and the harvest turned out to be an enormous support to the tribal community who was financially battered by the COVID-19 induced lockdown. The farmers could harvest the fish at time when the farmed fish has a huge demand in the market owing to the scarcity of fish during the lockdown. The harvested fishes ranged from 250 to 450g size and fishes were sold at a rate of Rs.500/kg. Out of 2000nos of seeds stocked, a survival of 80% obtained. Only a partial harvest was done at the harvest mela which was inaugurated informally by Mrs. Chandrika P. A, former Panchayat President of Ezhikkara. The farmers earned Rs.75,000 on selling 150kg of Karimeen. The first sale was handed over to Mrs. Indira Unni, Anganavadi Teacher at Ezhikkara Panchayat.

The cage was maintained by a 5-member self-help group named ‘Starfish’. Carried out under the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) Project of ICAR-CMFRI- Cochin, the farming that lasted a period of 8 months was  guided by Dr. K. Madhu, Principal Scientist &  Chairman TSP, Dr Rema Madhu, Principal Scientist, and Shri. Rajesh, Scientist at  Mariculture Division of the ICAR-CMFRI. The Institute provided a 4x 4m square cage to the farmers along with all accessories for its proper mooring and floatation, two sets of each of  inner nets and  outer nets, anti-bird  net, 2000 nos of seeds of the pearl spot (E. suratensis) and feed for the entire period of the culture. The farmers were also provided with life jackets and life buoy as a protective measure for their works in the water. All materials for cage farming were provided in free of cost.  The culture was initiated after training the farmers and the CMFRI experts monitored the farming activity in every two weeks to ensure proper health and growth of the fish. 

The harvest mela, which was undertaken with minimum  people  under strict compliance of COVID -19 guidelines of the Central and State  Government, was also graced by the presence of  Mrs. Reji Bharghavan,  Scheduled Tribe Ooru Mooppathi of Ezhikkara Panchayat, Secretary of Starfish SHG; Mrs. Sheeja Shaji, President of Starfish SHG  and tribal farmers were also present. CMFRI officials Mr. Vijayan M. T., Sr.  Technician, Mr. Mohandas, Sr. Technician; and Mr. Sibi T. Baby, YP-II  of Mariculture Division, ICAR –CMFRI, Kochi were present  on the occasion.

The basic objective of the TSP is to focus on channelizing financial assistance through implementing proven technologies like cage culture  to address the persistent socio-economic backwardness of the Scheduled Tribal (ST) community. Sanctioned by the Govt. of India, the tribal sub plan project /scheme has proved to be a great success with cage farming initiatives being carried out in various parts of the country by the CMFRI Centres located all along the coastal states, under the scheme. The cage culture technology has the potential to accelerate the pace of development of the Scheduled Tribals and to bridge the socio-economic development indicators between STs as compared to the advanced sections of the society.

ICAR-CMFRI helps SC families earn additional income through seaweed and ornamental fish farming

ICAR-CMFRI helps SC families in Tamil Nadu Village earn additional income through seaweed and ornamental fish farming

The ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has successfully implemented Government of India's Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) project in such a way that helped the SC families in Puthukudi village,  Thondi, Thiruvadanai Taluk in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu to empower themselves through seaweed and marine ornamental fish farming. In a major success story, the Mandapam Regional Centre ofICAR-CMFRI already made this villagers capable of earning an additional income of Rs 96,000 annually through seaweed farming which is a highly desired farming practice by the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the prosperity of the coastal community, and the Institute's efforts are underway to help them reap profit through other forms of mariculture like marine ornamental fish seed rearing.

Seaweed farming

Located near the sea shore,  Puthukudi village has 97 per cent of SC families (Kadiayar community) in the total village population and majority of them involved in fishing in Palk Bay. The ICAR-CMFRI launched the initiative of empowering the villagers through SCSP by giving them an awareness-cum-training programme on mariculture technologies for diversified livelihood in September 2019.  A total of 28 fishers in 10 groups, were selected for undertaking seaweed farming of Kappaphycus alvarezii under the SCSP component of the Institute, AINP on Mariculture and NICRA projects. The Puthukudi coastal area is less in wave action, shallow depth and less planktivorous fishes, which are ideal for monoline seaweed method. Each fisher was given 20 monoline units. The cost for making one monoline unit is Rs.1,600/- and the entire cost for making 575 monoline units was borne under the SCSP component of the projects. Seaweed farming of Kappaphycus alvarezii was initiated during the second week of November, 2019 with 20 monoline units. The total fresh seaweed production from three cycles was around 90 tonnes. Since entire start-up cost was met under the SCSP project and each fisher will earn Rs.96,000/- annually around Rs.10,000/- per month with five crops in a year depending on the climatic conditions.