It also creates gainful employment for skilled and unskilled youths

The Department of Fisheries, NABARD, and the National Fisheries Development Corporation are promoting fish pond culture which is proving to be a profitable proposition for fish farmers and entrepreneurs. Those having land and water resources can try fish farming. Fish is the cheapest and most easily digestible animal protein obtained from natural water sources.

However, due to overexploitation and pollution, the availability of fish in natural waters declined considerably forcing scientists to adopt various methods to increase its production. Fish farming in controlled or under artificial conditions has become the easy way of increasing the fish production. Farmers can easily take up fish culture in village ponds, tanks or any new water body and can improve their financial position substantially. It also creates gainful employment for skilled and unskilled youths.

The ‘Composite Fish Culture’ technology, developed for fish culture in which more than one type of compatible fish are cultured simultaneously, is the most advanced and popular in the country. This technology is known as ‘Composite Fish Culture’. This technology enables farmers to get maximum fish production from a pond or a tank through utilisation of available fish food organisms in all the natural niches, supplemented by artificial feeding. Any perennial fresh water pond or a tank retaining water depth of two metres can be used for fish culture purpose. However, the minimum level should not fall below one metre. Even seasonal ponds can also be utilised for short duration fish culture. Depending on the compatibility and type of feeding habits of the fish, Katla, Rohu, and Mrigal apart from Silver Carp, Grass Carp and Common Carp and other varieties of fish of Indian as well as exotic varieties have been identified and recommended for culture in the composite fish culture technology.

NABARD Deputy General Manager K.V.S.S.L.V. Prasada Rao told The Hindu that the composite fish culture can be taken up as individual enterprise or a cooperative society or as a group venture. The Department of Fisheries is offering subsidies for pond construction and Rs.10,000 for purchasing fisheries inputs and grant of Rs.3,000 for purchase of fishing nets etc. Those pursuing fish culture in ponds can also run fish outlets.

The area under tanks and ponds available for warm fresh water aquaculture is estimated to be 2.41 million hectares in the State. The average productivity from ponds at present is to the tune of 2,500 kg per hectare per year. Only 15 per cent of the potential area of tanks and ponds available is developed so far, showing immense scope for fish culture. Subsidy will be given under the Central scheme being implemented by the National Fisheries Development Board, details of which can be obtained from Fisheries Departments or from the website of NFDB www. nfdb.ap.nic.in.

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