Panel moots slew of measures to boost ornamental fisheries

Miss Kerala or Red Line Torpedo Barb is an indigenous variety of ornamental fish endemic to the Western Ghats.  

The committee of experts constituted to study the problems dogging ornamental fisheries in the State has suggested, among other things, promoting indigenous varieties for export, establishing an aquatic quarantine centre, easing the process of brood stock imports to encourage local entrepreneurs, and setting up a laboratory for repackaging export consignments.

A large variety of ornamental fish available in the Western Ghats region hold great potential for exports, said Riji John, Dean, Fisheries, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, who headed the committee. He pointed to the success of “Miss Kerala” or Red Line Torpedo Barb, which is indigenous to some of the streams in the Western Ghats and has been in great demand. Dr. John said that the breeding biology and seed production had been standardised for Miss Kerala.

There were 117 varieties indigenous to the State, which held potential for ornamental fisheries. There was also potential for Kerala to grow into an exporter of marine ornamental fishes, he said. He said that import of brood stocks should be made easier to help local rearing. Groups such as Kudumbashree could be involved in rearing them until they attained the marketable size. An aquatic quarantine centre was needed to ensure that pathogens did not enter the country through ornamental fish imports. The aquatic quarantine centre now was in Chennai for shrimps.

Dr. John said that Kerala accounted for about 20 per cent of the ornamental fish exports from India and the State earned ₹1.56 crore out of a total national export of ₹7.6 crore. But there was high potential for the business, given the State’s natural advantages.

Ornamental fisheries would get a big boost with the business being included in the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. The aim of the programme was to raise fish production to 220 lakh tonnes by 2024-25, at an average annual growth of nine per cent by investing around ₹20,000 crore in various projects.

Meanwhile, Kerala Aqua Ventures International Limited (KAVIL), established in 2008-09 to help ornamental fisheries business, is reviving its activities after the infrastructure established initially suffered a setback during the floods of 2018 and 2019. A senior official said that the Ventures was now into establishing a brood stock bank, launching an aquarium fabrication unit and establishing an aquatic plant production unit. The process of revival of the hubs for ornamental fish production and rearing was also under way, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:32:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/panel-moots-slew-of-measures-to-boost-ornamental-fisheries/article33630071.ece

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