CHENNAI: Keen to capture a share of the sizeable ornamental fish trade, the State Fisheries Department has started preliminary work on setting up a fish park, said to be the first in the country, on a five-acre plot at Madhavaram Milk Colony here. The proposed Aquatic Rainbow Tech Park will come up close to Kolathur, considered to be the hub of ornamental fish trade, so as to make use of the skilled hands available nearby.
The proposal to set up the aquatic tech park put forth by the State Planning Commission comes at a time when India has only 0.5 per cent share of the global trade — estimated to be about a billion US dollars annually.
“The aim is make it a hub for ornamental fishery and help boost the export to nearly three to four per cent share of the world trade,” said Dr S Felix, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Fisheries University.
The Advanced Research Farm Facility of FCRI is setting up the Aquatic Rainbow Tech Park at a cost of Rs 10 crore, funded by the State Planning Commission and implemented through the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
The plan is to create a state-of-the-art facility to indigenise and increase the production and export of ornamental fish, said Felix. India, he added, has a vast resource but only a poor 0.5 per cent share in the ornamental fisheries trade. By setting it up close to Kolathur, the officials are trying to leverage its tag as one of the major ornamental fish hubs in the country. In addition, to make use of the skilled hands available there, the plan is to engage a part of the required manpower from Kolathur, officials added.
By adopting modern techniques and equipment, Felix claimed, aqua farmers can increase productivity by up to 10 times of what it is now. The park will have an advanced aquaculture system and production will be done in three phases. The first phase includes a hatchery facility using a re-circulation Aquaculture system. The Raceways System increases the survival rate of fishes during the nursery phase. After this, they will be let out into plastic-lined earthen ponds and with adequate aeration. Felix said this was an advanced culture system.
The operation and maintenance would be by a private firm, while the technical aspects will be taken care of by the university.