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ICAR-CMFRIs awareness campaigns pay off; fishermen save endangered whale shark

ICAR-CMFRIs awareness campaigns pay off; fishermen save endangered whale shark

The continuous and rigorous awareness campaigns on conserving endangered marine species by the ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have paid off with a group of fishermen from Calicut, Kerala saving an endangered whale shark (Rhincodon typus). In a major impact of the awareness programmes, the shark, which was accidently caught in the trawl boat, was returned to the sea in a dramatic rescue by nine fishermen who set off to the sea from Puthiyappa, Calicut on 25th January 2020. The whale shark is protected under the Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act. 

The fishermen had to cut the trawl net worth Rs. 1 lakh to rescue the whale shark, and the operation took nearly 4 hours. It would cost Rs. 40,000/- to repair the damaged net. Two fishermen sustained minor injuries while releasing the endangered shark. The shark measured about 5m in length and weighed around 900-1,000 kg.


It was regular awareness campaigns by the ICAR-CMFRI that helped the fishermen rise to the occasion and motivate themselves to save the shark. The ICAR-CMFRI regularly organizes awareness programme on conservation of protected elasmobranchs. Besides these, the Institute had conducted a workshop on the International Whale Shark day at Ponnani on 30/08/2019 and another at Calicut on 24/09/2019. Along with animals like the tiger, rhino and so on, the whale shark too is under same category of the Wildlife Protection Act.  The distribution of whale shark is fairly large in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, but its highest aggregation is in Gujarat. 

Coming to know of the heroic attempts of fishermen, scientists and other technical staff of the Calicut Research Centre of ICAR-CMFRI, Calicut rushed to the beach to meet the fishermen and congratulate their highly commendable efforts. 

ICAR-CMFRI felicitates fishermen 

Later, on the occasion of the 73rd Foundation Day celebrations of the Institute, the Calicut Research Centre of ICAR-CMFRI felicitated the fishermen who saved the whale shark. All the staff of the ICAR-CMFRI and the guests attended at the programme lauded the brave attempts of the fishermen. The ICAR-CMFRI presented them with certificates and mementos. Dr P.K. Asokan, Scientist-in-charge, Calicut Research Centre of ICAR-CMFRI said that the population of whale shark has dwindled over a period of time which necessitated the government to list this species in the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.



Hands on Training Programme on Oyster Farming for Scheduled Caste members

Hands on Training Programme on Oyster Farming for Scheduled Caste members

Aimed for uplifting the living standards of the Scheduled Caste members, the ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR- CMFRI) extended scientific,  technical and financial support in Oyster farming for 40 Scheduled Caste families in Kodungallur Municipality in Pullut Village, Thrissur. The initiative was a part of CMFRI’s project for popularising the less expensive farming method among the Scheduled Caste members across the coastal states under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Govt. of India. This is the first venture in Oyster farming in this area.



Hands on Training Programme on Oyster farming for Scheduled Caste members in Pullut area was inaugurated by Kodungallur Municipal Chairman, Shri. K.R. Jaithran on 30th November 2019. The training programme was presided over by Municipal Councillor, Shri. O. N. Jayadevan. The Opposition leader of Kodungallur Municipality, Shri. V. G. Unnikrishnan was the Chief Guest of the function. Dr. K. Sunil Mohamed, Principal Scientist & Head, Molluscan Fisheries Division, CMFRI was the Lead Speaker and Dr. K. Madhu, Principal Scientist, Mariculture Division, CMFRI & Chairman, SCSP felicitated the function. The training was organized under the leadership of Dr. Vidya. R, Scientist, Molluscan Fisheries Division, and team.

ICAR-CMFRI has conducted this Hands on Training Programme to Scheduled Caste members for equipping them to set up Oyster farming units (racks of 5m x 5m) in brackishwater ecosystem.  The training included guidance on site selection for the farming, season of farming, Ren making, farm construction, farm management and various aspects of harvesting, apart from hands-on training on Oyster ren making. The experience of other SHG members who are successful in Oyster farming with the technical support of CMFRI were also shared.



The scientific support is aimed for the socio-economic empowerment of weaker section to take  up Oyster farming as an alternate livelihood option. Most of the beneficiaries in the area are involved in hand picking of oysters from natural beds. The areas selected for farming are natural oyster beds with good spat settlement. As there is a growing demand for oyster meat and depurated live Oysters are major delicacy in high end restaurants which fetches high market value, the farming of oysters will give livelihood security to the beneficiaries.

CMFRI has also provided all raw materials like Oyster shell, ropes and bamboo poles for rack (farm) construction. The farming will be carried out under the guidance and supervision of CMFRI team from the beginning to the end. The institute will help the 40 beneficiaries to become entrepreneurs through Oyster farming under various groups.  In accordance with the progress of the farming, more farming units and other services will be extended to the scheduled caste members in the area.

ICAR-CMFRI releases 1.2 million shrimp seeds into sea

ICAR-CMFRI releases 1.2 million shrimp seeds into sea

In continuation of the regular sea ranching programme, the Mandapam Regional Centre of ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) released 1.2 million shrimp seeds of green tiger shrimp at Thonithurai, near Mandapam on 8th December 2019.

The ICAR-CMFRI has been regularly carrying out sea ranching of hatchery produced green tiger shrimp seeds in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay to replenish the natural stock and to enhance the shrimp productivity. The programme also aims to conserve and maintain sustainable shrimp stock in the wild and to help the fishermen of this region to improve their livelihood. The initiative assumes great significance in the wake of drastic depletion of shrimp resources in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar regions.


During 2017-19, a total of 7.025 million shrimp seeds were released in this region by the Institute. During the current financial year 2019-20, a total of about 2.025 million shrimp seeds were sea ranched so far.


Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI was the chief guest on the occasion. Shri. K. Muraleedharan, Dr. K. A. Saira Banu, Dr P Muralidharan, Shri K Raghunadhan, Dr R Jayakumar, Smt V Prabhavathi and Shri J L Ajith Stalin, among others, were present.

The sea ranching programme was coordinated by Shri. M. Sankar, and Dr. B. Johnson. 

ICAR-CMFRI hosts third international symposium on marine ecosystems

ICAR-CMFRI hosts third international symposium on marine ecosystems 

The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi hosted the third international symposium on marine ecosystem: challenges and opportunities (MECOS-3) from 7th to 10th January 2019. Organised by the Marine Biological Association of India (MBAI), the MECOS-3 set a platform for discussion on a wide range of topics, including impact of climate crisis in marine ecosystems, meeting sustainable development (SDG) goal-14 (life under water) of the UN, development of small-scale fisheries, recent development in aquaculture, eco-labelling and green fishing technologies. 


Dr Petri Suuronen, Director, Blue Economy Natural Resources Institute, Finland inaugurated the symposium. He said that marine fisheries will be more profitable and the people involved in the sector will have a better socio-economic status if ocean resources are made sustainable. A renowned researcher in marine fisheries, Dr Suuronen said that policy makers, government agencies and the whole people working in the sector should cooperate and work together to achieve sustainability in marine fisheries of the country.  Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI presided over the function. He said that eessential fish habitats were facing serious challenges because of anthropogenic as well as natural pressures. The third Dr. S Jones memorial prize, instituted by the MBAI for outstanding contributions in marine biology and fisheries, was presented to Dr T Balasubramanian, Vice Chancellor of Chettinad University, Chennai. Dr K Sunil Mohamed, Convenor of MECOS 3 and Dr V Kripa, Secretary of the MBAI also spoke at the inauguration of the symposium. 


While addressing the delegates on the third day of the symposium, Smt. J Mercykuttyamma, Minister for Fisheries, Kerala said that sustainable development of marine fisheries sector should not be limited only on conservation of resources and the environment, instead it should follow a holistic approach giving greater importance on the role of fisheries as sources of livelihood for billions of people. Recognition of the social agency, well-being and livelihoods of people working in the sector is equally important in marine fisheries, she added. 


The symposium proposed a blanket ban of trawling in the territorial waters within 12 nautical miles. According the recommendations of the symposium, these areas should be demarcated as exclusive zone for small-scale fishermen. The symposium also demanded that the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 be reformed in a way making it effective in conservation of marine species of the country. Authoritative science, knowledge and planning are required to assess the performance of the Act, it said.  A panel of experts have to look into the Act to bring in adequate changes in various Schedules and Categories of the Act. Since extinction risks are different between marine species within a group, proper assessment is required on the impact of the Act on marine ecosystems, according to the recommendations of the symposium. 

Seafood fest

Dishes made with the octopus were the major attractions of a seafood festival held as part of the symposium at ICAR-CMFRI. The festival offered mouth-watering octopus cuisines such as biriyani, puttu, momos and snacks.  Many more other varieties with mussels (kallummakkaya), clam, squid, shrimp, crab, fish and oysters were also available at the festival. 



Fisher woman-turned-cage farmer trained under ICAR-CMFRI receives the first Kisan Credit Card for fisherfolk in Karnataka

Fisher woman-turned-cage farmer trained under ICAR-CMFRI receives the first Kisan Credit Card for fisherfolk in Karnataka 


Mrs. Supriya Sudhir Sarang, a beneficiary of the coastal water cage culture demonstration undertaken by Karwar Research Centre of ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) received the Kisan Credit Card from the honourable prime minister Shri Narendra Modi on 2nd January 2020 at Tumkur. A fisherwoman-turned-cage fish farmer, Mrs. Supriya Sudhir Sarang is the first fisherfolk in Karnataka to receive the same. Mrs. Supriya, who is a beneficiary under ICAR-CMFRI’s All India Network Project on Mariculture, has undergone training on open water cage culture at the Institute during 24.9.2018 to 26.9.2018.  She was also part of the cage fish farming along with other beneficiaries under the NFDB scheme for open water cage culture implemented by ICAR-CMFRI during 2019 and successfully harvested Asian seabass under the guidance of the Institute. She was felicitated by ICAR-CMFRI during the National fish farmer’s day celebration in 2019.




ICAR-CMFRI throws open wonders of marine life for public

ICAR-CMFRI throws open wonders of marine life for public 

CMFRI, Kochi

A large number of people turned up to watch the wonders of marine life as the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) opened its doors for students and public to mark its 73rd Foundation Day on 4th February 2020 at its Headquarters in Kochi and various Regional Research Centres. The Open House programme evoked a huge response from the public to enjoy the ringside view of marine wonders and to learn the latest developments in marine research. Nearly 4000 people visited the Headquarters of the Institute located in Kochi, to watch in awe the splendours of aquatic organisms in the sea and to interact with the scientists.