Low Volume Cage Farming (LVCF) of Asian Seabass (Lates calcarifer) on Partnership farming mode (PFM) at Trissur, Kerala as a part of MoU signed with Farmer group and ICAR-CIBA on Finfish Satellite Seed Rearing (FSSR)

Seabass is a high value candidate finfish species widely used for cage culture in coastal and backwater areas. One of the fundamental requirements for successful cage culture of seabass is the availability of stockable size fingerlings of 5g to 50g size. Recognizing this, ICAR-CIBA has signed MoU with the farmers Mr. Sukumaran and Mr. Radhakrishnan of Tatwamasi Self Help Group at Chalakudy, Trissur, Kerala to demonstrate nursery rearing and low volume cage culture of Asian seabass Lates calcarifer under seabass satellite seed rearing programme. The farmers were trained on seabass nursery rearing to produce seabass seed from 15 day old fry to stockable fingerlings, using net hapas. This FSSR technology developed by CIBA to bridge the gap between the hatchery supply of fry and the requirement of 5-10 g size fish seed, is getting popular among the brackishwater farmers, involved in low volume finfish cage farming.

At Trissur, Kerala a total of eight hundred seabass fingerlings (average 8g size) were stocked in a floating cage of 8.0 m3 (2.0x2.0x2.0 m) initially, and after reaching to 100g size , fishes were restocked in a cage with three compartments, in the size of 2.0x2.0x2.0 m. Feeding was done with trash fish procured @ Rs 30 per kg from the locality and fed @ 5% body weight twice daily. After 10 months culture period, the farmer has produced a total of 475 kg of seabass (81% survival rate) with the size ranged from 500g-1.5 kg, with the productivity of 19.8kg/m3. The farmer has sold 400 kg of seabass @ Rs. 400/kg and realized the revenue of Rs.1.6 lakh. Another 75 kg of under sized seabass (average 500g) is being maintained in the cage in order to reach to the marketable size, which is worth of Rs.30000/. The total revenue worked out to be Rs.1.9 lakh. The cost of production worked was Rs.1.05 lakh (Inclusive of seed cost Rs. 12000/-, cage cost Rs. 6000/- (worked out for one crop only from the total cost), feed cost Rs. 72000/- and actual labour cost Rs.15000/-). The farmer has got the net profit of Rs. 85000/- ( attributing a monthly income of ~Rs 4000/month) after deducting the production cost from 24 m3 backwater cage system. In an aquaculture scenario dominated by shrimp culture, the successful farmer partnership initiative (under Tatwamasi SHG, Trissur, Kerala) in Asian seabass farming in open backwaters is a model, which can be popularized. Adoption of similar models of cages can serve in increasing the brackishwater finfish production in India.

Harvest Festival
For popularizing the low volume cage culture technology in the locality, a harvest festival and farmers meet was conducted on 24th December 2015. The meeting commenced with the report of the cage culture activity conducted by CIBA in participation with the farmers by Dr. Krishna Sukumaran, Scientist, CIBA. The Chief Whip, Governemnt of Kerala, Advocate Shri. Thomas Unniyadan inaugurated the harvest festival and farmers meet. Dr. K. K. Vijayan, Director, CIBA spoke about the scope of brackishwater low volume cage farming for ensuring alternate livelihood options and nutritional security of the local communities. Dr. Vijayan also emphasized the need for a leasing policy for the judicious utilization of the vast stretches of open waters available in the country for sustainable cage culture. The function was presided by the Municipal Chairman, Kodungaloor Municipality, Shri. C.C. Vipin Chandran who sought long term co-operation with CIBA for popularizing brackishwater cage culture in the region. Father Johnson Panketh of KITS and other dignitaries were also present. The dignitaries distributed seeds of Asian seabass to the selected farmers. The meeting was attended by more than 100 farmers and over 80 school children. Director CIBA spoke to the school children on the importance of fish in human nutrition. In the meeting, the representatives of the SHG profusely thanked the ‘TEAM CIBA’ for providing all the technical guidance and inputs. On the occasion, Dr. P.A. Vikas, Subject Matter Specialist in Aquaculture, KVK, Narakkal, who has given background support to the farmers, talked to the school children assembled to witness the seabass harvest, on the ‘Fundamentals of brackishwater aquaculture and its relevance to nutritional security’. At end chief guest and Director CIBA, handed over seabass seeds to the farmers, to continue the LVCF.

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