VIJAYAWADA: While the existing eight government aquaculture laboratories in the state are expected to be upgraded by March-end, 27 more integrated facilities for research in the sector are likely to begin operations in the later half of this year.
The same is part of infrastructure development for the effective implementation of three Acts passed in 2020: Andhra Pradesh State Aquaculture Development Authority (APSADA) Act, AP Aquaculture Seed (Quality Control) Act, and AP Fish Feed (Quality Control) Act. The primary objective of the three Acts is to safeguard the interest of aqua farmers, streamline the process of acquiring licence and other permissions, and ensure that the quality of seed and feed meets international standards.
“Quality is paramount to ensure that no aqua export gets rejected on the pretext of quality, presence of antibiotics beyond permissible levels, and delay in the processing of permissions,” P Koteswara Rao, head of the State Institute of Fisheries Technology, Kakinada told TNIE. There were 14 issues which used to consume time, and were reportedly the reasons for the delay in the issuance of licences. “Now, all those loopholes have been plugged. Specific time has been allocated for issuing the licences and permission for aquaculture registration, and to seed and fish feed factories. When the time for a particular service elapses, the permission or licence, if not reissued already, will be deemed to have been given,” he explained.
In the past, there were several complaints of corruption in the procedure. Lack of any legal provision used to force the farmers or entrepreneurs to seek police help or take a legal recourse. However, the newly-introduced legislations will ensure legal actions are initiated in case of irregularities.
“Action can be initiated against those who provide inferior seed or feed when there is proof that quality standards were not adhered to. The existing labs and the ones to come up will take care of these issues. Random sample testing, apart from acting on the complaints, will be done,” Koteswara Rao explained.
Nearly 60 per cent of the input in aquaculture, be it freshwater or brackish, are seed and feed. The quality checks are expected to bring down the cost by 10 to 15 per cent even as there is an increase in production by 15-20 per cent.