CMFRI launches harvest of cobia at sea farm in Sippikulam

April 08, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:45 am IST - THOOTHUKUDI:

Effort to enthuse fishermen to take up sea cage farming

The harvest of sea-cage farmed cobia was organised by Tuticorin Research Centre (TRC) of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) at Sippikulam, a coastal hamlet in the district, on Thursday. It was the maiden effort to enthuse fishermen to take up sea cage farming as an alternative livelihood, P. P. Manojkumar, Scientist (in-charge), TRC of CMFRI, who inaugurated the programme, said.

Sea cage farming of cobia is a profitable venture and it is successfully practised in many Asian countries. Cage-farmed cobia fish could grow to weigh three kilograms within six or seven months and it commanded a farm gate price of Rs.300 to Rs. 320 per kg. Hence, the fisherfolk of Sippikulam had been motivated to form small groups and adopt sea cage farming. The fish farmers showed interest in maintaining the cages. After a culture period of six months, they could harvest around 300 kg of grown up cobia weighing 2.5 to three kg each. It could fetch a sale value of about Rs. 1 lakh from this maiden venture, he said. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, along with CMFRI, gave all scientific and technical support to sea cage farming right from stocking to harvest. “It includes selection of suitable cage sites, fabrication of floating cages, holding nets, mooring, appropriate feeding and disease control measures,” the Scientist (in-charge) said. Required cobia fingerlings were transported from Rajiv Gandhi Aquaculture Centre (RGCA), Pozhiyoor, near Thiruvananthapuram. I. Jagadis, Principal Scientist, TRC, in his address, lauded the efforts of fishermen group for cage farming activities and shared his pearl farming experience with Sippikulam fisherfolk. C. S. Shine Kumar, Deputy Director, Marine Products Export Development Authority, spoke about the possibility of developing a hygienic fish handling centre and also facilities for live and chilled export of marine fishes at the village.

P. Issac Jeyakumar, Assistant Director of Fisheries (Marine), apprised the fisherfolk of various state and central government schemes available for sea-cage farming. C. Kalidas, scientist, TRC, briefed about the technical details and earlier initiatives taken by CMFRI to promote sea-cage farming along Thoothukudi coast. L. Ranjith, scientist, elaborated on the suitability of cage farming to Sippikulam coast and availability of natural fish seed resources in the area. S. Sivakumar, Assistant Director, Thoothukudi Fishing Harbour motivated the fish farmers to take up more sea-cage farming activities by availing funds from State Fisheries Department and National Fisheries Development Board. Rev. Raja Rodrigo, Head Priest, Sippikulam, staff of TRC, members of fishermen co-operative society and fish farmers attended the programme. M. Kavitha, scientist, TRC, proposed a vote of thanks.

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