Fisheries Dept. launches pilot on shrimp cultivation in India

Vannamei production to be scaled up based on success of zero-salt technique

The State Government has launched an ambitious programme to promote fish culture for achieving self-sufficiency. But, little is known about the initiatives launched for cultivation of shrimp and Vannamei on an experimental basis.

Faced with acute shortage of availability of varieties of prawn, the Fisheries Department has launched cultivation of two varieties – Vannamei suited for brackish water and Shrimp for fresh water – on an experimental basis.

Following an advice given by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the department had released 1.1 crore hatchery-reared prawn varieties into 10 major reservoirs across the State and it is proposed to release another 40 lakh in the coming days.

“This is a pilot project. We have to wait for the results till April-May. If the experiment, the first of its kind in the country, is successful, we will scale up the production,” Fisheries Commissioner C. Suvarna told The Hindu. The department had taken much trouble in procuring the seed required for the pilot project as there was no availability of fresh water variety scampi in the coastal areas where the cultivation is now shifted to Vannamei which had market value as well as export potential.

The department, according to Ms. Suvarna, was more focussed on the shrimp cultivation as there was no adequate resource of brackish water that is required for Vannamei. Vannamei no doubt had more demand and promised more yield. But, the department had decided to go for shrimp as cultivation of Vannamei on a large scale would entail environmental concerns. “Brackish water will have some content of salt which over a period of time will affect the fertility of soil. We have decided to take up Vannamei cultivation on a smaller scale,” she said. The department had therefore focussed on a variety of shrimp after technical consultations with premier institutions like Central Institute for Fresh water Aquaculture and Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute on various finer aspects of shrimp culture before opting for the pilot project.

Technical advice

Technical advice from these institutions was necessitated given the major thrust on fisheries promotion.

“Fish, prawn and other marine products survive at different depths. We have released the seed after ascertaining their survival rates at different levels so that one species do not compete with the other,” she said. The focus therefore was on shrimp culture and it was proposed to stock the species in all open water bodies based on the success of the pilot project. The department would scale up cultivation of Vannamei after examining the efficacy of the new zero-salt technique that is being tested.

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