Forging new Partnership on the quality upkeep of brackishwater aquaculture produce including shrimp, between ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), Chennai, and Seafood Exporters Association of India, MoU signed

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, Chennai, India, and the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) at Chennai on 17th December 2015 for addressing the important issues such as emerging disease problems and antibiotic residue in brackishwater aquaculture sector with special focus on farmed shrimp production in India.

Mr. Elias Sait, Secretary General, SEAI, on his speech during the signing in ceremony indicated the growth of the aquaculture sector, shrimp farming in particular, in the country over a period of 37 years since the birth of Indian seafood business, which is valued at Rs.30,000 crores of export revenue during the 2014-15. He acknowledged the contributions of CIBA as a nodal R&D institution for brackishwater aquaculture in the country, and appreciated the role of research institutions in developing ideas that lead to business, jobs and development of the economy of the country. He acknowledged the world class expertise of Indian scientists, not only in the IT sector, but also in other sectors such as fisheries. He commended the timely role played by CIBA on the experimental introduction and monitoring of vannamei, followed by Import Risk Analysis (IRA), which helped the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India to take decision on large-scale introduction of Pacific white shrimp in India in the year 2009, a landmark in the Indian shrimp farming sector. Further he also appreciated CIBA’s role in aquatic quarantine establishment and targeted surveillance and timely R&D inputs on the early mortality syndrome (EMS), in declaring the EMS-free status of India among the shrimp exporting nations, which helped the shrimp farmers and exporters to a significant growth trajectory. These developments made great impact on the shrimp production scenario during the last five years, with a present production of about 4,50,000 metric tons of farmed shrimp. In order to keep the growth momentum in the sector, he stressed the need of partnership between CIBA and SFEA, to face the emerging challenges, such as disease problems, antibiotic residue issues etc. He described the MoU between CIBA and SEAI as very important and a “watershed” in the history of aquaculture in India, in realizing sustainable future of the sector.

Dr. KK Vijayan, Director, CIBA in his introductory speech highlighted the role of SEAI as the economic engine of fisheries Industry of India. He highlighted the challenges associated with aquaculture and commended the role played SEAI in keeping the momentum of growth and mentioned that the aquaculture development in the country was a team effort by all the stake holders in the sector, and expressed happiness on this joint effort. He appreciated the private sector such as SEAI for coming forward, and fostering partnership with research institution such as CIBA, and also providing funding support, and said that this is a new beginning and go a long way in Indian shrimp farming. He assured that the CIBA’s scientific caliber was inferior to none, and had capacity to take up any challenging tasks. Dr. Santana Krishnan, CEO, Maritech Ltd., stressed on the responsibilities that would begin with the signing in of this MoU and it would be a joint responsibility to move forward towards sustainability of aquaculture sector. Dr. Santana Krishnan also highlighted the availability of a large knowledge base in CIBA, and emphasized that need to create R&D visibility among the end users. He expressed hope that the knowledge base of CIBA with the SEAI platform would go a long way and benefit the stake holders.

Earlier Dr. Alavandi, Head, Aquatic Animal Health & Environment Division Welcomed Mr. Elias Sait, Secretary General, SEAI and Dr. Santhana Krishnan, CEO, Maritech Ltd., and made a brief presentation of the profile of the Aquatic Animal Health and Environment Division of CIBA and highlighted its strength in undertaking this Collaborative programme. He mentioned that this collaboration was to address the aquatic animal health related issues and seafood safety issues in brackishwater aquaculture, and to take up new initiatives, awareness programmes for real aqua farmers on responsible use of inputs, drug residue problems, BMPs/ biosecurity / HACCP etc. including digital and print media. He also described the CIBA-SEAI partnership as a new beginning towards growth of brackishwater aquaculture in India. Dr. Ravisankar, Principal Scientist and In-charge of the Business Planning and Development (BPD) unit of CIBA apprised the establishment of Institute’s Technology Management Unit and outlined the activities of ITMU, and highlighted the vibrant nature of the aquaculture sector, and mentioned that we have completed 14 MoU in the BPD initiatives of CIBA during the year 2014-15, and 13 MOUs in 2015-16 with the present one with SFEA.

Dr. Patil, Senior Scientist, thanked Mr. Elias Sait, Secretary General of the SEAI and Mr. Santhana Krishnan, CEO, Maritech Ltd., for acknowledging the strength of CIBA and signing the MoU for the collaborative program, assuring them the responsibility of CIBA’s team in fulfilling the requirements of this joint effort.

Dr. KK Vijayan, Director, ICAR-CIBA receiving Mr Elias Sait and Mr. Santhanakrishnan of SFEA

Dr. Shankar Alavandi giving welcome speech

Dr. T. Ravisankar briefing on BPD activities and MOU

Director CIBA Dr. KK Vijayan giving introductory remarks on MOU

Mr Elias Sait, Director General of SFEA giving his remarks

Signing the MOU, Mr Elias Sait, SFEA and Dr. KK Vijayan, Director, CIBA

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