Mariculture offers bright business prospect for India s coastal region CMFRI study
Kochi: Mariculture has emerged as a promising business opportunity for India’s coastal regions, offering decent income to the coastal people even as extreme weather events like cyclones are leading to the reduction of fishing days every year, according to a new study by the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Cage fish farming in the open sea and coastal waters could yield an additional income of up to Rs. 3 lakhs per unit, the study found. The study examined the social, environmental, technical and economic aspects of 159 mariculture units such as cage farming, seaweed cultivation and Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in six coastal states including Kerala. The innovative practice of IMTA, which combines mussel or seaweed cultivation with cage fish farming, was found to generate even higher profits of Rs. 3.25 lakhs per unit.
Higher profitability for coastal water cage farms in Kerala
Kerala exhibited higher profitability in coastal water cage farming compared to other coastal states, with nearly 40% of such units in the state generating an income ranging Rs. 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs per season.
Andhra Pradesh realised greater profitability in open sea cage farming while the IMTA practice was found to be more profitable in Tamil Nadu.The study titled Sustainable intensification of small-scale mariculture systems: Farm-level insights from the coastal regions of India was published in the international research journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
The study led by Dr Shinoj Parappurathu, Senior Scientist of the CMFRI also highlighted that mariculture augmented employment and gender inclusion among the coastal communities across the country. Marine cage farming and the IMTA generated 175-396 person-days of employment from one unit in a season lasting around 8 months. Employment estimates vary across enterprises and locations. The usage of antibiotics was not reported in any of the farms. However, many farmers practicing coastal water cage farming in Kerala were found to be overstocking their cages. Seaweed cultivation along potential farming sites was found to be highly prospective, given the increasing demand for seaweed-based products for culinary purposes and pharmaceutical and other industrial uses. The CMFRI study also identified challenges in the sector, including the scarcity of quality seed and feed. Less than 50% of farmers received good-quality seed for culture. Limited access to institutional credit to meet capital and the operational cost was reported to be another major constraint in the sector.
“Adequate legislative mechanism is required to ensure legitimate access for farmers to open water bodies. Respective state governments should intervene to provide this protection to farmers so that production could be augmented”, said Dr Shinoj Parappurathu. The lack of legislative provision puts this prospective sector under the shadow of uncertainty, ultimately hindering large-scale business plans in mariculture, he added.
Food safety protocols
The study proposes strengthening food safety protocols and health management systems in mariculture farms; developing marine spatial plans for the optimal allocation of available ocean space; bringing about market reforms for the development of competitive value chains; introducing specialised schemes to support auxiliary prerequisites such as credit, insurance, and other support services; adopting measures to ensure adequate supply of seed and feed through channelizing public funding and by incentivising private sector; promoting group farming, cooperative farming and farmer producer companies among mariculture farmers; and developing mandatory guidelines on good farming practices such as anti-fouling, water quality monitoring, crop holiday management, etc.
Sea ranching of the green tiger shrimp Penaeus semisulcatus under the Central Sector Scheme component of PMMSY
A total of 4.1 million green tiger shrimp seeds (PL 25) were sea ranched at Mandapam, T Nagar (Palk Bay) on 12th April, 2023 under the Project entitled "Sea ranching of Green tiger shrimp (Penaeus semisulcatus) Post Larvae (PL) in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu" funded by Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Govt. of India under the Central Sector Scheme component of the PMMSY. The shrimp seeds were released by Shri. M. Sivakumar, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Fisherman Welfare, Mandapam, Mandapam Fishermen Association Leaders in the presence of Dr. G. Tamilmani, Head-in-Charge & Principal Investigator of the project, Scientists and staff of Mandapam Regional Centre of ICAR-CMFRI. The fishermen thanked the Government of India and ICAR-CMFRI for such an initiative and expressed that this activity will be helpful in replenishing the green tiger shrimp stock. A total of 57.64 million green tiger shrimp seeds were sea ranched in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar since the inception of the Project (February, 2022). The sea ranching programme was coordinated by Dr. B. Johnson, Senior Scientist of the Centre.
Awareness workshop on climate change and distribution of Climate Aid to fishermen
AnAn awareness workshop on climate change was organised by the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi under its National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project on 18th April 2023. Fishermen residing in Kerala’s Chellanam and Puthuveypu villages attended the workshop.Speaking on the occasion, Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI said the Institute will set up Water Clinics in the coastal region of the state. At a time when climate change continues to fuel storm surges and resulting coastal flooding, the proposed clinics are aimed at assessing the quality of drinking water resources in coastal communities, he said.He added that the new initiative is in line with the ‘One Health’ concept that aims to achieve optimal health for the people, aquatic animals and plants, and the environment. “In continuation of the existing research project to understand the extent of pathogenic vibrio pollution in the Vembanad, the Water Clinics is expected to maintain the quality of the drinking water resources in the region, thereby preventing the spread of waterborne diseases in the community. Emulating the success model of the ‘Citizen Science’ initiative for the Vembanad research project, the participation of students will be ensured to conduct massive water quality checks in the coastal region with the support of a mobile application”, the Director said.In order to set up the Water Clinics, the CMFRI will collaborate with the Nansen Environmental Research Centre, Kochi, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), the Public Health Department and other agencies.
Climate Aid to fisher families
The awareness workshop was organised by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) research project of the CMFRI. In an effort to minimise the losses caused by climate change on the coastal communities, the CMFRI provided climate aid to 24 fisher families belonging to the SC community residing in Chellanam and Puthuveypu, on the occasion. As part of this, implements such as fishing nets, freezers, ice boxes, motor pump sets, fish seeds and feeds, etc. worth Rs. 2.5 lakhs were distributed among the fishermen under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) programme of the NICRA project of the institute.Espamma Sebstin, Chairperson of the Welfare Standing Committee of Chellanam Panchayat; Dr C Ramachandran; Dr Grinson George; Dr Ratheesh Kumar; Krishnakumar, ward member; and Dr Muhammad Shafeeque spoke on the occasion.
ICAR-CMFRI hosts NICRA review meeting headed by DDG (NRM), ICAR
The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI), Kochi hosted the review meeting of the research works of various fisheries research institutes and state agricultural universities under the fisheries component of the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) of ICAR on 11th March 2023.The meeting was chaired by Dr S K Chaudhari, Deputy Director General (Natural Resources Management) of the ICAR. He emphasised the need for finding scientific solutions to the impacts of climate change on food producing sectors, including fisheries. He pointed out that increase in temperature and heat waves are leading to disruption of groundwater behaviour posing threat to agriculture and allied sectors. He also said that assessing ecological losses is equally important while studying the impact of climate change on the food sector.Dr B Venkateswarlu, Chairman of the NICRA Expert Committee urged scientists to focus on technological innovations and contributions to policy interventions during the time of climate change. Innovative technologies would help fishermen to sustain their livelihood during cyclones, heavy rainfalls and other extreme weather conditions, he said.Dr K K Vass, member of the NICRA Expert Committee said that there is a need for segregating the positive impacts of cyclones which support regional increase in production. The loss occurring in coastal communities like in the case of infrastructure damage and the loss in fishing days owing to extreme weather events such as storm-surge should be treated separately. In addition, studies on disruption of marine ecosystem services should also be carried out, Dr Vaas added.Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI said the under the NICRA project the Institute has found India’s carbon emission from marine fisheries at the national level is lower than that of global figure. The sector emits 1.32 t of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to produce one tonne of fish, much lower than the global figures of more than 2t of carbon emission per tonne of fish. Viewing that the NICRA project assumes significance as it helps to provide innovative solutions to a range of issues emanating from climate change, he further stated that the support of the project helped quicken the pace of ICAR-CMFRI’s research activities in India’s marine fisheries.Principal Investigators of the NICRA project from ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi; ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), Chennai; ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), Barrackpore; ICAR-Directorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research (DCFR), Bhimtal; ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Lucknow; Tamil Nadu Dr J Jayalalithaa Fisheries University; and Bihar Animal Sciences University presented the status of their research works at the meeting.ICAR-CMFRI’s presentation pointed out that increased intensity of cyclones, sea level rise, and warming of the Indian Ocean have led to changes in marine ecosystems among many others, causing depletion of some fishes and the emergence of some other varieties. The Institute identified cyclone proneness, flood proneness, shoreline changes, heat wave and sea level rise as the major hazards that make coastal lives in peril. Works on a Coastal Climate Risk Atlas that marks areas of risks including hazards and vulnerabilities in all coastal districts in India, are in progress.Headed by DDG, ICAR, a team of experts including Dr B Venkateswarlu, Dr K K, Dr V K Singh, Director of Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), and Dr M Prabhakar, Principal Investigator of the NICRA, ICAR reviewed the research works.