The ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, (ICAR-CIBA), Chennai observed its 30th “Foundation Day” on 4th April 2017, as an “Open Day” for school students. Students visited the laboratories at ICAR-CIBA Headquarters and farm facilities at Muttukadu Experimental Station of CIBA. This programme was organized in order to create awareness among the school children about the importance of agriculture and allied subjects, including fisheries and aquaculture, which they can pursue for their career.
In the Headquarters of the institute, Dr. K. K. Vijayan, Director, ICAR-CIBA, Chennai welcomed the gathering and stated that under the programme, “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture” (ARYA), ICAR – CIBA and “The Hindu” jointly organized a sensitization Workshop in October 2014 to create awareness among youth and school students about the importance of farming and opportunities for providing income and employment in farming sector covering, crop husbandry, fisheries, horticulture, animal husbandry, home science, forestry, etc. As a follow up, this institute has been undertaking various activities under ARYA in the past two and half years. The Chief Guest, Shri. Baburaj V. Nair, Chief Human Resources Officer, “The Hindu” stressed the importance of agricultural education and its large scope for choosing the same for higher education for their future career.
The publication on“ICAR-CIBA Technologies for Brackishwater Aquaculture 2017” and 14 posters on ICAR-CIBA Technologies were released during the occasion. A mobile application on Pacific white shrimp farming known as “Vanami Shrimp app” developed by ICAR-CIBA was released for the benefit of shrimp farmers and other stakeholders on this occasion.
The participants were about 140 children and 8 teachers from P.S.Senior Secondary School, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School, Sri Sankara Vidyasharam, Kendriya Vidyala Island Grounds, Rani Meyyamai High School and students from Srinivasapuram visited and gained knowledge in aquaculture by interacting with the scientists at ICAR-CIBA Headquarters.
The students were taken around the biotechnology laboratories, in which, the DNA isolation protocol was explained in detail and subsequently some students were given a hands-on experience in isolating DNA from hair shafts. In the nutrition laboratory they were shown about 25 samples of the aquafeed prepared in CIBA feed mill. They had some interesting interactions on how to prepare aqua feed on their own and to feed the fish.
In the aquaculture health and environmental laboratories the students were explained about the techniques of bacterial isolation from water sample in culture plates and shown various chromogenic bacterial colonies and their uses. The motility of bacterium was also demonstrated under light microscope. The students were demonstrated about the isolation of bacterial DNA from bacteria, and soil and water analyses techniques. The scientists addressed the students on “Career Options in Agriculture and Allied Sectors” and held career counselling session.
In the Muttukadu Experimental Station (MES), about 160 students from St.Bedes Academy, Babaji Vidhyasharam, National Public School accompanied by 10 teachers from the respective schools visited the facilities. Dr. K. K. Vijayan, Director, ICAR-CIBA addressed the students and highlighted the importance of biological sciences/ agricultural science, particularly, the scope in brackishwater aquaculture to the school children. He also stressed the importance of fish production through aquaculture as nutrition security to common people and as livelihood option for the fisherfolk.
Different developmental biological stages of shrimp/crab/fish species and livefeed organisms were displayed in aquarium tanks. The different facilities, viz., feed mill, shrimp/crab/fish hatcheries, referral laboratory were visited by the school students with great enthusiasm. The commercial scale feed production through pelletiser and extruder was explained and species specific formulated feed and their ingredients were exhibited. The use of solar powered automatic feeder in aquafarming and also the techniques in disease diagnostics were demonstrated. Career counselling session was conducted in batches for different school students in which they participated enthusiastically.