An Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory, the first of its kind in the government sector in the country, has been sanctioned in the state. National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) has accepted a proposal forwarded by the state for establishing the facility at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) in Kochi.
A one-time grant of Rs 56 lakh has also been announced by the NFDB.
The centre at KUFOS campus at Panangad is envisaged as a virtual research and support centre for fish farmers and as a ‘Hospital for Fish’ to address various diseases related to fish species, which are being reported seasonally from various parts of the country. The grant from the NFDB, in two equal installments, is for establishing the laboratory, including a year’s cost for consumables. The first installment will be released on issue of the sanction order and the final installment will be released on submission of the utilisation certificate.
The revenue generated through the operations of the laboratory shall be used only to meet the recurring expenditure of the laboratory. It is estimated that the projected revenue generation will be sufficient enough to meet the operational expenses of the lab in the subsequent years.
The KUFOS lab will maintain registers pertaining to the details of farmers, samples given for testing, tests undertaken and results and charges collected. The demand for an aquatic laboratory considering the immense potential offered by the state’s water courses and brackish areas for fish and prawn cultivation.