CHENNAI: Chennai is all set to get India’s first aquatic rainbow technology park, a state-of-the-art exclusive facility for ornamental fish, which is being readied for launch in March next.
The `10 crore facility under construction at Madhavaram would help boost production of ornamental fish, raising hopes of making Tamil Nadu the top ornamental fish exporter in the country. The State is now in the second position after West Bengal. However, of the total export of ornamental fish, only one-tenth (`8 to 9 crore) comes from organised aquaculture. Wild caught fish constitute the major portion of the rest.
In Chennai, Kolathur with a good mix of both cottage and commercial-scale production is a vibrant ornamental fish trade centre. But the lack of technology, shortage of breeder availability and change in hardness of water has had an impact on production.
“Once the eight-acre facility comes up at Madhavaram in North Chennai, Kolathur nearby will become the hub of ornamental aquaculture in India,” said S Felix, Dean of Fisheries College and Research Institute, Ponneri.
The institute, under the Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (TNFU), is undertaking construction of the park for the last seven months. The university registrar K Rathnakumar said that the tech park exclusively for ornamental fish will have seven independent units including multi-species hatchery and live feed culture units.
It will also have a quarantine lab where exotic fish varieties imported from other countries can be quarantined and put to use, he said.The administration has planned to provide the entire facility to the actual stakeholders - fish growers in and around Chennai, particularly Kolathur, who lack expertise on handling disease outbreaks.
Researchers in TNFU are optimistic that a diagnostic lab set up here will not only help in treating bacterial, parasite or viral infections, but also in growing the fish to a marketable size.
The second phase of development, expected to begin next month, has plans to build a shopping complex as part of the facility.