KOCHI: The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has received Rs 9 crore from the Union Government to establish national broodbanks of two marine fish, namely cobia and pompano.
The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare approved the CMFRI’s proposal to enhance production of farmed cobia (Rachycentron canadum) and pompano (Trachinotus blochii) through the establishment of broodbanks and supply of larvae to all coastal states for seed production, a release said here.
The broodbank will be set up at the Mandapam and Vizhinjam regional centres of the CMFRI and the regional hatcheries will be established in all maritime states. The broodbank will have quarantine facility, broodstock holding tanks, recirculation aquaculture systems and photothermal control systems. The proposed facility will sustainably produce fertilised eggs and newly hatched larvae from bio-secure broodstocks of cobia and pompano fed with suitable diets under controlled water quality parameters and photoperiod.
According to CMFRI director A Gopalakrishnan, the new project will help solve the issue of scarcity of quality seeds of cobia and pompano, which are among the most suitable species for sea cage farming in Indian waters. “Since the present marine capture fisheries are unable to meet growing seafood demand, we have to focus on increasing the marine fish production through mariculture activities. However, scarcity of quality seeds is a major impediment to the mariculture industry in the country. The proposed broodbanks and regional hatchery facilities will cater to the requirements of quality seeds of cobia and pompano in all the maritime states,” he said.
With the establishment of the broodbanks, production of 48 million newly hatched larvae of pompano and 30.72 million newly hatched larvae of cobia can be achieved per year, Gopalakrishnan said.
“There is a network of over 1,000 cages spread across the country under the technical guidance of CMFRI. Lack of adequate seed supply often hampers the mariculture industry and so a broodbank of marine finfish as a national facility is the need of the hour,” he said.
National nodal centre
The Mandapam Centre of CMFRI will act as the national nodal centre coordinating the seed production programme facilitating the supply of the seeds to various regional hatcheries set up across the maritime states in the country, said Gopalakrishnan. “The CMFRI has already developed the technology for mass production of fish seeds of cobia, silver pompano, Indian pompano, orange spotted grouper and pink ear emperor,” he said.
National Mariculture Policy
The CMFRI will continue its efforts to draft the National Mariculture Policy in collaboration with the Fisheries Departments of maritime states and Union Territories to develop the existing mariculture practices into a massive scale and to avoid conflicts of interest between other sectors, he said. “The CMFRI has conducted several sittings of scientific experts to come up with draft terms of reference with respect to the National Mariculture Policy. The same will be finalised soon and circulated to all the maritime states for obtaining feedbacks from the states and stakeholoders,” Gopalakrishnan said.