KOCHI: Setting up guidelines and rules & regulations is the first and foremost thing needed for development of the cage aquaculture sector in Asian countries, where such policy frameworks do not exist, said Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute emeritus scientist Dr Gopakumar.
“A whole gamut of issues related to cage aquaculture, including site selection, traditional ‘rights’, genetic/environmental pollution, emergence of exotic species and by-catch for feeding, remain un-addressed. There is no policy framework in place to address such issues,” pointed out Dr Gopakumar while addressing the International Symposium on Cage Aquaculture in Asia (CAA5) here the other day.
He said that instead of vertically integrated large-scale industrial cage farms, fisher-owned small-scale farms that are resource/environment friendly should be encouraged. Such farms make the practice resilient and remunerative for primary producers.
At the symposium, experts from Norway and Indonesia explained the cage aquaculture practices followed in those countries. Also, the need for modern molecular/genomic approach in breeding and water-quality monitoring in fish farms were explained in detail.
The topics of discussion also included hatchery and seed production experiences in the cultivation of species like cobia, silver pompano and Asian sea bass.
A representative of the US Soybean Export Council opined that usage of feeds from modern feed mills that function with know-how from competent foreign partners would improve production and feed conversion ratio in cage aquaculture.
The deliberations at the CAA5 are expected to pave the way for formulation of a policy framework for cage aquaculture, both inland and marine.