Scientists at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI-Visakhapatnam) are all set to install at least one hundred cages, exploring the potential for mariculture in the Krishna Estuary in Andhra Pradesh. Of the total 100 cages targeted to be installed on the Andhra Pradesh coast, 70 are estuarian cages Galvanised Iron GI) cages and 30 are High-Density Polyethylene (HDP) marine cages.
Shubhadeep Ghosh and Sekar Megarajan - the Visakhapatnam-based team of scientists - have kick-started the project in the estuary, installing at least 32 cages in the first phase at the Nagayalanka site in Krishna district.
The National Fisheries Development Board is extending financial assistance for the project, turning backwaters of Andhra Pradesh into a hub for cage cultivation.
A sea of opportunities
“In India, the total number of cages in operation is less than 2,000. While in Andhra Pradesh, cages installed in the backwaters and the sea is less than 100, waiting to explore possibilities for the mariculture in the State,” Dr. Ghosh told The Hindu.
“In the Krishna Estuary, at least 32 GI cages are being installed in the brackishwater channel of river Krishna at Nagayalanka near the confluence point of Krishna and the Bay of Bengal. Progressive farmers and Yanadi tribal families have been roped in the floating cage method,” added Dr. Ghosh.
In the Estuary, the CMFRI is replacing the HDP cages with GI cages, bringing down the total cost of each cage (six-metre diametre). “We are providing the GI cages, seed (Indian Pampano) and feed to the farmers and the harvested crop will be given to the farmer, attracting more farmers into the method in the State,”Dr. Ghosh, Principal Investigator of the cage culture project.
The CMFRI will encourage cultivation of Indian Pampano, whose crop period is a maximum of eight months. “We have finalized our project, installing the remaining 38 cages in the Krishna Estuary itself. The cultivation will commence by early October, given present weather conditions,” said Dr. Ghosh.
Further, R. Ramasubramanian, Principal Co-ordinator (Coastal Research Systems), M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation told The Hindu: “We are installing at least six cages in the Krishna Estuary, cultivating Asian Sea Bass”.