Mandapam Regional Centre of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) which introduced Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) to Munaikadu fishing group, engaged in commercial seaweed farming, has helped them harvest 652 kilograms of cobia fish and 2,700 kgs of seaweed.
The CMFRI had been developing technologies for seed production of high-value finfish and sea cage farming techniques and standardised seed production technologies of cobia and silver pompano.
As the anticipated expansion of sea cage farming could lead to environmental degradation and cause diseases, the centre introduced IMTA to achieve bio-mitigation along with the increased biomass production by integrating different groups of commercially important species with varied feeding habits.
The CMFRI introduced the concept to a fishermen group already practising commercial level seaweed farming and helped them with three numbers of low-cost cages, stocked with 100 cobia fingerlings each, G. Gopakumar, Principal Scientist, CMFRI, said.
The Centre also supplied 720 kg of seed material for seaweed integrating with the cages during the first week of April. A total of 12 numbers of seaweed rafts — 60 kg of seaweed per raft — were integrated with the cobia cages during the second week of September, he said. The daily feeding of the fishes with trash fishes, maintenance of the cages and the required watch were done entirely by the fishermen group.
A couple of days ago, the fishermen group harvested 652 kg of cobia fish with an average weight 3.25 kg, which fetched a farm gate price of Rs.210 per kg. They also harvested 2,700 kg of seaweed, which was used as seeding material for the next crop.
“The seaweed rafts integrated with cobia cages had a better average yield of 225 kg per raft as against 150 kg per raft of others, which were not integrated,” Mr. Gopakumar noted.
He said, “The success can be considered as the initial step towards development of a full-fledged integrated marine fish farm at Munaikadu, which will be the first of its kind in the country where seaweed, mussel/oyster, lobsters, high-value marine food fishes and ornamental fishes can be farmed.”