The floating fish cage, an ambitious project of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), ran into rough weather on Monday after the bigger cage was washed ashore due to choppy sea conditions.

Out of the 10,000 seedlings of Asian Sea Bass (locally known as ‘pandugappalu') that were being cultured in the cage, some were recovered by CMFRI officials. These seedlings will be placed in the other two small floating cages positioned off the Vizag coast that remained unaffected by the rough weather.

Speaking to The Hindu, G. Maheswarudu, Principal Scientist and in-charge of CMFRI, said the chain and moorings connection was snapped and the net was damaged after hitting the rocks on the shore. “We were expecting a good yield this time since the survival rate was quite high. But this is an unfortunate incident,” he said. The polypropylene cage with a diameter of 17 metres will be repaired in 20 days. CMFRI will monitor the moorings to test the stability against currents and sea waves.

Popular for its taste among fish lovers, the Asian Sea Bass is a deep sea variety of fish, found throughout the South-East Asian region. Each fingerling is expected to grow up to one kg. from the present weight of two grams and attain harvest in four months. Sea bass is priced at Rs.350 to Rs.400 per kg in the retail market.

The CMFRI believed that cages could be deployed in future to grow the local and highly-valued marine fish. However, the officials said that cage culture needs day-to-day maintenance and constant improvisations and monitoring to prevent losses occurring due to rough sea conditions.