KOCHI: An experimental farming venture undertaken by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) to popularise integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) proved successful as fish farmers at Moothakunnam in Ernakulam district got a bumper harvest of green mussel. The CMFRI has undertaken integrated farming combined with cage fish and seaweed farming under participatory mode with fish
farmers in Moothakunnam.
The IMTA practice combines farming of fish, seaweeds and filter feeding bivalves to create balanced systems for environmental and economic stability. CMFRI started the venture in December last year as part of its research to develop a sustainable cage fish farming model suitable for Kerala’s ecosystem. In the first harvest, around one tonne of green mussel was yielded from 150 strings hung around as many as four fish cages. Individual mussel grew to the size of 72 g which is a successful growth rate in mussel farming. Though the harvest was held during the COVID lockdown, the entire produce sold out in no time.
A team led by principal scientist Shoji Joseph observed that the fishes inside the cage attained better growth and seaweed being cultured around the cage showed healthy status with fast growth rate. Fishes will be harvested by the end of next month.
CMFRI director A Gopalakrishnan said the institute will take steps to popularise the IMTA practice across the coastal states. “CMFRI had developed a model of IMTA practice on open sea waters of Tamil Nadu which ensured better income to the coastal people. The IMTA in line with the increasing trend of cage farming will help transform the lives of coastal community,” he said.