Here is an alert to aqua farmers on the spread of dreaded Lake Virus, in Tilapia fish in India. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sounded a caution to farmers on the outbreak of the virus in India.
Tilapia, also called as Nile Tilapia, a most sought after variety in the U.S., is being raised in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries. Lake Virus, of late, caused a huge loss to the aqua industry in Latin America, Colombo and Israel.
MPEDA has introduced Genetically Improved Farm Tilapia (GIFT), an Israel variety, to boost marine exports and is planning to produce about 12 lakh metric tonnes of GIFT, worth ₹ 8,000 crore, in the next few years.
MPEDA Deputy Director (DD) Archiman Lahiri said the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) of ICAR has sent a message to MPEDA on spread of Lake Virus, which was high in other countries.
“We cautioned farmers on Lake Virus and the MPEDA officers and technicians are educating farmers on the symptoms on disease and the preventive measures to avoid the virus,” Mr. Lahiri told The Hindu.
If Lake Virus is affected, fish will become inactive, turns pale, takes less feed and suffer rashes and wounds. Farmers are requested to test the produce regularly, the official said.
Assistant Director P. Srinivasulu said that Tilapia is being cultivated in about 2,500 acres in Krishna, East and West Godavari districts, and farmers are exporting GIFT to the U.S. More farmers are planning to take up the cultivation, as Tilapia is having good demand in the international market, which has high nutrition and medicinal values.
“We advise farmers to take bio-security measures to prevent Lake Virus. If farmers observe any symptoms, they can send the samples to MPEDA so that they can be tested at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA) Lab, Chennai”, said Dr. Srinivasulu.