CHENNAI: In a major development that would energise the aquaculture sector in the country, three fisheries graduates from Mangalore Fisheries College have come up with a start-up initiative in seed production of Asian seabass, which has huge commercial importance, with the technical support of the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), Chennai.
This is the first attempt, made in India, for setting up a seabass hatchery in private sector on a start-up mode.
An MoU was signed between the CIBA and ‘Canares Aquaculture’ owned by the young entrereneurs from Kumta, Karnataka on the Westacoast of India to ensure transfer of CIBA’s technology on seabass seed production to the latter.
The initiative assumes significance in the wake of the launch of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday for the boosting fish production, doubling farmer’s income and the sustainable growth of fisheries sector.
Career in start-up
Unlike most of their colleagues, Karthik Gowda VS, Kaushik Alike and Sachin V Savan, the three fisheries graduates from Manglore Fisheries College, chose to develop their career in entrepreneurship. Their visit to the CIBA’s seabass hatchery at Muttukadu experimental station during their Bachelor of Fisheries Science (BFSc) programme became influential in setting their career in aquaculture start-up.
While they informed their intention with the CIBA authorities, the institute provided them technical guidance and field training in seabass nursery rearing while they communicated with the institute authorities their desire to set up start-up in the field. The CIBA followed up the start-up with hand-holding which enabled them getting funding support to start the firm.
A milestone in aquaculture
KK Vijayan, Director of CIBA called the start-up initiative a milestone in brackishwater aquaculture. “It is a path-breaking development in country’s aquaculture sector with youngsters coming to this field with start-up ventures which will pave way for a resurgence and growth in the brackishwater aquaculture, especially Asian seabass farming in the country”, he said.
According to him, private sector has become largely reluctant to enter marine fish seed production consequent to the relatively longer production cycle and need for unique skill sets required for rearing marine fish larvae.
“It is heartening to see fisheries graduates turning to become enterpreneurs in aquaculture. Since they are equipped with technical skills in the area, they are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs in aquaculture, which is increasingly becoming popular these days”, he said.
Emphasising the need for boosting the production of quality seeds of Asian seabass, Vijayan said that it is equally important to use indigenous technologies in both hatchery reared seeds and formulated feeds for development of scientific seabass farming in the country.
With the farmed Asian seabass having a high commercial value, there is more demand for its quality seeds among other aqua-farmers across the country.
Presence of well established value chain for seabass is very evident from spawn to harvest size, where huge demand exists among farmers for the range of hatchery and farm produced seeds.
Officials told The New Indian Express that one kilogram of fish would fetch a market price in the range of Rs 450 to Rs 750.