KARNATAKA

New aeration technology may help improve aquaculture

Project taken up with an investment of Rs. 1.3 crore

Prakash Kamat

PANAJI: An Indo-Norwegian project on environmental management strategy for coastal aquaculture practices, which successfully tested the aeration technology introduced by Norwegian company, HOBAS Tropical Aquaculture, has raised hopes among various stakeholders that the technology can help resolve the problem of water quality faced by Indian aquaculture.

The project taken up with an investment of Rs. 1.3 crore jointly borne by NIO and HOBAS, was in operation for three years with field trials conducted at experimental ponds located at Kumta in coastal Karnataka, according to D. Chandramohan, Consultant, NIO. The objective of the project was to develop and produce more eco-friendly environmental management strategies for sustainable coastal aquaculture.

Dr. Chandramohan, former Deputy Director and scientist, NIO, who was originally the coordinator of the project and is now associated with it as consultant, told The Hindu that the aeration technology aims to stabilise the fluctuating environmental condition in the pond.

This technology, along with other techniques, seeks to help improve conditions in the pond for better utilisation of nutrients. This is expected to improve the yield for two reasons. Firstly, the environmental conditions in the pond can be more optimal during the whole culture cycle. Secondly, it is also believed that plankton production can also be increased using the technology.

Workshop

At a workshop organised at NIO last week, the results of the field experiments were discussed and deliberated upon by various stakeholders, including scientists, farmers, researchers, policymakers and the industry. Some suggestions also came up such as forming a federation of farmers and planning joint ventures in future to extend the technology to shrimp farmers.

The project was pursued under the aegis of the Indo-Norwegian institutions, including RF-Rogaland Research, Stavanger, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and HOBAS. The Norwegian technology, it is said, has been tested to improve shrimp farming in neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Breakthrough

This breakthrough, which Dr. Chandramohan concedes needs to be tested further for conclusive results, could be significant in view of the recommendations of the Supreme Court made in the past. While assessing the environmental impact caused by pond-based shrimp culture, the apex court had said that aquaculture should be upgraded using appropriate technology, which will result in minimum environmental changes.

Dr. Chandramohan said the technology can also be tried and extended to the Eastern coast States such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as shrimp farmers there also face problems pertaining to quality of water, availability of standardised seeds and outbreak of disease.

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