As a part of CIBA’s effort to demonstrate the advantage of native candidate species of shrimp, and to create awareness on the farming of these local shrimps among the farming communities at Sundarban ecosystem, tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon and Indian white shrimp Penaeus indicus farming trials were taken up at CIBA- KRC culture ponds (in 5500 and 2800 sq m areas respectively). To compare the outputs, Pacific white-leg shrimp, Penaeus (Litopenaeus) vannamei farming also was taken up along the native species. The harvesting of shrimp from the culture ponds was arranged, as a part of the Meet. The farmers witnessed the successful farming and harvest of the Indian white shrimp, P.indicus, tiger shrimp, P. monodon and Pacific white-leg shrimp, P.vannamei. An exhibition was also organised by displaying various on-going activities of the Centre for the benefit of the farmers. As a part of pilot scale demonstration and propagation of sustainable finfish farming techniques, the KRC- hatchery produced fish seeds of brackishwater catfish Mystus gulio and hatchery produced and nursery reared Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) fingerlings were provided to farmers for grow-out culture, with technical assistance from CIBA.
In the scientist-farmer interaction session, farmers were interested to know about the farming of P.vannamei, P.indicus in comparison to P. monodon, green mud crab Scylla serrata culture, seed sources of important brackishwater fishes such as the mullets Mugil cephalus, Liza tade and L. parsia, etc. The farmers appealed the dignitaries for financial and technical assistance, year round supply of quality fish seed, and licensing procedures of Coastal Aquaculture Authority.
Dr. V.R. Suresh, Director, ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, Kolkata inaugurated the Aquafarmers Meet. Dr. Anup Halder, Project Officer, Sundarban Development Board, Govt. of West Bengal, Dr. Sankha Chakraborty, Assistant Director of Fisheries (Brackishwater), South 24 Parganas, West Bengal and Dr. N.J. Maitra, Programme Coordinator, Ramkrishna Ashram Krishi Vigyan Kendra (RAKVK), Nimpith, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal graced the occasion as special guests. The Meet was attended by more than 250 participants including brackishwater farmers, stakeholders and entrepreneurs from South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur Districts, West Bengal.
In the scientist-farmer interaction session, farmers raised the following issues for discussion:
1. Financial assistance for brackishwater aquaculture.
Suggestion: To avail various schemes from State Fisheries Department of State Govt and Sundarban Development Board.
2. Supply of seeds for fishes like Asian seabass, mullets, brackishwater catfish, etc.
Suggestion: ICAR-CIBA has been successful in breeding and seed production of seabass and catfish. The seabass seeds are available from CIBA hatchery, Chennai at a nominal price after booking with requirements. Breeding and seed production protocols have been transferred to a few commercial hatcheries which will produce seeds at large scale in near future. Recently, KRC of CIBA bred brackishwater catfish, Mystus gulio and trials are being conducted for standardization of the protocols. This breeding technique will be refined and transferred to small farmers, as backyard activity, and to fish hatchery operators for large scale production from the coming year onwards.
3. Processing and early disposal of Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) licence to brackishwater farmers.
Suggestion: CAA licence is being issued by the Central Committee that works at CAA headquarters, Chennai, on recommendations from the District level and State level committees.
4. What are the major diseases P. vannamei and their management?
Suggestion: Similar to other penaeid shrimp species, P. vannamei are also prone to infections of viral and bacterial diseases, such as, white spot virus disease, slow growth syndrome, vibriosis, etc. Farming the SPF vannamei requires to follow biosecurity protocols and other guidelines, recommended by the CAA. Adoption of BMP would minimise the chances of diseases.
5. What are the low risk brackishwater aquaculture options available?
Suggestion: The polyculture of fish such as Mullets and milkfish, with native species of shrimp such as P. monodon and P. indicus, culture of seabass, mudcrab, periphyton based fish and shrimp farming are the low risk and sustainable aquaculture options. The culture protocols are available with CIBA.
6. Availability of low cost feed for brackishwater aquaculture.
Suggestion: KRC of CIBA has developed low cost feeds using locally available ingredients and several field trials over the last five years at farmers’ ponds have indicated encouraging performance at par with commercial feeds. Now, these feeds will soon be made available in the market after transferring the technology to the entrepreneurs.

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