The Hindu , 20 May 2006

Plan to launch `open sea cage farming'

Rameswaram: The Central Marine Fisheries Institute has planned to launch `open sea cage farming' in four months.

Its Director Mohan Joseph Modayil said the project, aimed at doubling the wealth of finfish and shellfish species, would be a pioneer in opening up the sea for mariculture instead of exploiting the depleted natural wealth of sea.

Technologies, expertise and method of farming had been finalised. The Department of Animal Husbandry and Union Ministry of Agriculture had agreed to fund the project.

Mr. Modayil had visited many places on the western and eastern coast to find places for the project. The project was likely to be launched at Mandapam, Visakapattinam in Andhra Pradesh, Ratnagiri in Maharastra and in Goa. Scientists, fish farmers and fishermen would be encouraged to study the project for popularising the open sea cage farming.

Countries such as the US, Norway, Australia, Thailand, Fiji and some other countries had done the open sea cage farming successfully. Fish production through mariculture was more in China.

Mr. Modayil said the current rate of India's fish production was between 2.7 to 2.9 million metric tonne a year. However, the country had to achieve the target of 10 million metric tonne in the next 15 years to meet the growing demand. Hence, various institutions attached were engaged in different technologies to multiply the fish wealth.

Mr. Modayil said he along with top scientists of the institute would meet officials of the Planning Commission in New Delhi shortly to discuss the plan of action for the next five years. The focus would be to enhance the wealth of sea.

New techniques, sea farming methods to double the wealth of fish, research and development, and implementation would be discussed. Ways and means of developing 11 CMFIs would also be discussed. The action plans were prepared for improving the marine wealth of Andaman and Lakswadeep Islands.