Low cost cages, a boon to fish farmers

Staff Reporter
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Afloat:Cage, used as part of cage farming technology in open water aquaculture, at FCRI in Tuticorin on Friday.— Photo: N. Rajesh
Afloat:Cage, used as part of cage farming technology in open water aquaculture, at FCRI in Tuticorin on Friday.— Photo: N. Rajesh

Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI) here has developed a farmer-friendly and easy-to-follow technology in the open water aquaculture. In general, open waters are mostly used for a variety of purposes in the State in addition to fish production, but the production of fishes is always at low level when compared to the available production area and volume of water. The standard cage farming technology recommended by FCRI has augured well to achieve high production at a low cost, V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, said in a statement issued on Friday.

While describing the efforts of the scientists at FCRI, the Dean said that the cost of cages was the major bottle neck in the adoption of cage farming by the fish farmers.

Therefore, as a prime step, low cost cages were designed and fabricated by the research team comprised of J. Stephen Sampath Kumar, Professor, Department of Aquaculture, FCRI. It was achieved in the ongoing NADP (National Agriculture Development Programme) research project on ‘Enhancement of open water aquaculture production through cage farming,’ in which Dr. Kumar is the Principal Investigator. The funded project was developed at Rs. 21 lakh. The cages have proved their worth. He further said that the cost of one cage, meant for rearing fishes, made of iron frame with screen net would cost Rs. 5,000. Normally, the cages ranging from one square metre to four square metre in size made of iron frame and net fabrication with two metre depth were established to give more volume space for fishes to live in. Feed pipes were inserted in the middle of the cage, he said.

The cages were fixed in the bamboo rafts and 10 to 15 cages could be set up in one raft offering 25 to 50 cubic metre of rearing space for the fishes. Totally, a raft with 10 cages could be made at a cost of Rs. 50,000, which was 50 percent lesser than the cost of imported cages that were used before in many other experiments in India. The life of the cages is said to be five years under proper maintenance and with the short term cropping of 150 days, two crops per year could be executed, possibly. These cages could be easily sampled and the production (growth) would be monitored, regularly.

This technology could be adopted by the farmers effectively to enhance productivity, the Dean said.

Plans were also afoot to impart a three-day training to farmers on cage farming during the first week of November at FCRI. The programme would be beneficial to the farmers in possession of open water bodies under lease and involved in fish farming. Training would be provided free of cost under NADP and likeminded farmers could write to the Dean for details and participation in the programme.




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