National level stakeholder consultation meeting “Development of sustainable brackishwater aquaculture in an economically viable, environment friendly and socially acceptable mode’’ held at the Conference Hall of CIBA, Chennai on 26th April 2016

The Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) conducted a national level stakeholder consultation meeting to ascertain the field level issues in different brackishwater aquaculture systems being practised across the coastal states so that relevant issues could be addressed through the research programmes of the Institute. Forty Stakeholders including aquafarmers from all the coastal states except Karnataka participated in the meeting. Participant from northern region of inland saline area also attended. Officials representing the Departments of Fisheries of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha also participated in the meeting. The theme of the consultation was on the ‘Development of sustainable brackishwater aquaculture in an economically viable, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable mode’. It may be noted this sector creates food, employment and also an export revenue of about Rs.30,000 crores to the country. Dr. Ajith Sinha Patil, President of the Maharashtra Aquafarmers Association, Mumbai inaugurated the consultation. Dr. Ajith Sinha Patil, felt that it was honour for him to inaugurate the meeting and in his address he stressed the need for harmonisation among the state and central government agencies and research institutions to address the issues being faced by the aquaculture farmers. Dr.K.K.Vijayan, Director, CIBA in his presidential remarks mentioned that farmers have come from all the coastal states and emphasized that the objective of the meeting was to hear from them about the requirements at the field level. He presented the major achievements of the institute to set the perspective for discussions, and stated that it is befitting that the consultation should be inaugurated by a farmer. Also stressed the importance of sustainability in farming, and highlighted the scope of small and sustainable family farming units and the importance of polyculture, Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) etc. in achieving the nutritional security coupled with economical benefits. On finfish and crab farming, he invited the attention of farmers on zero stocking concept, to make the farming an attractive and economically viable enterprise. The division heads and division in-charge scientists briefed the stakeholders about the research programmes of their respective divisions. The participants present in the meeting introduced themselves and flagged their views at the consultation held in the mode of round table discussion, moderated by the Director. The following are the key issues pointed out by the stakeholders.

  • Availability of Quality seed of candidate species of finfish.
  • Creation of seed bank and brood banks of candidate species in selected areas along the costal aquafarming regions.
  • Emerging diseases of shrimps are of concern. A strong surveillance programme coupled with emergency response mechanism and instantaneous issue of farm advisories need to be put in action. P. vannamei shrimp diseases particularly emerging EHP disease associated white feaces and stunted growth in Penaeus vannamei cited as the major problem by many farmers. Farmers sought diagnostic and testing support, including the setting up of testing laboratories in farming areas.
  • Establishment of water quality and diagnostic laboratories at the reachable limit of farmers is essential. Development of mobile labs can be considered.
  • Sought the availability of cost-effective formulated feeds for larval and nursery rearing and grow-out of brackishwater shrimp and fishes. Also sought the attention of research institutions in the development of cost effective probiotics and supply to the farmers as the vannamei shrimp culture being practised without water exchange with higher application of probiotics.
  • Cost of production is in increasing trend and so practices which cut down the costs need to be popularised.
  • Need of selective breeding the indigenous species of shrimp and fish with SPF status, as presently only exotic SPF species are available in India for bracksihwater farming. Availability of more species for crop rotation.
  • Off-campus/on-field training for fishery extension workers and farmers on BMPs, water quality management, minerals management and disease diagnosis need to be taken up. Also training for integrated aqua-agriculture systems need to be organised especially for inland low saline shrimp farmers.
  • Awareness creation on the advantages and disadvantages HDPE lining of shrimp ponds, biofloc based shrimp culture especially in low saline waters need to be taken up.
  • System diversification of brackishwater aquaculture such as Composite culture (culture of Asian seabass, Milkfish and Mullets), polyculture and Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), and suitable technology package including feeds needed to be developed.
  • Revival of black tiger shrimp (P. monodon) is taking place in many places, due to market demand. Studies on its susceptibility to EHP and EMS diseases need to be evaluated.
  • Cost-effective feed for polyculture in traditional culture systems need to be provided to the farmers of West Bengal. Similarly nursery rearing in shrimp and fin fishes need to be popularised in that region to ensure the supply of quality seed.
  • Culture technology for Polycheate worms need to be fine-tuned and popularised to have pathogen free live feed
  • Effective utilisation of discharge water from drainage pond with suitable seaweed and bivalve culture needs to be standardised and be promoted.
  • Risk management protocols for shrimp culture need to be fine-tuned and published in vernacular languages for the benefit of farmers.
  • Suitable policy brief on the importance of providing relief to the aquaculture farms based on the costs involved need to be prepared and given to the governments.
  • Electricity tariff and fuel pricing needs to be kept on par with agriculture
  • Availability of liberal bank loans and crop insurance will help aquaculture to grow rapidly.
  • Aquaculture needs support of government in all aspects. Suitable land leasing policies to release the coastal waters under control of state governments are to be formulated.
  • Promotion of domestic marketing for shrimps needs to be taken up. A suitable farming strategy aiming for domestic market ought to be framed and popularised.

  • The Director, CIBA consolidated the discussions and elucidated the participants that CIBA being the research institution it can support the sector mostly in providing technical support, capacity building, inputs for policy framework and knowledge partnerships. He emphasized that CIBA has planned different modes of capacity building as per the needs of different stakeholders in a tailor-made format with nominal fees. He advised the farmers to form creek based farmer groups, procure quality seeds form reputed hatcheries and practice BMPs which is the practical way-out for successful crop. He further added that CIBA will formulate web and mobile based tools to have linkage with farmers. In the morning Dr. VS, Chandrasekhran welcomed the participants, while at the concluding session, Dr.M. Kumaran, Principal Scientist, proposed the vote of thanks to all the stakeholders, officials and others who have worked for the successful conduction of the meeting. In the afternoon the participants were taken to Muttukadu Experimental Station of CIBA and had exposure to finfish, shrimp and crab hatcheries, pilot scale extruder feed mill, live feed culture and soil, water and pathogen screening laboratories.

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