In a bid to popularise milkfish as 'Deccan Hilsa', Chennai-based ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) is planning to transfer milkfish (Chanos chanos) hatchery technology and setting up a state-of-the-art finfish hatchery in West Bengal.
An MoU was signed with Raj Hatcheries, East Midnapur, West Bengal, at CIBA headquarters in the presence of Dr K K Vijayan, Director, CIBA, scientists of CIBA and Arokiaswamy, MD, Raj hatchery, on Tuesday.
CIBA achieved a breakthrough in the breeding of milkfish in captivity, in 2015, and subsequently perfected hatchery seed production and farming technologies. Considering the demand and preference for milkfish by Bengal's local population, CIBA has already been taking efforts to popularise milkfish as 'Deccan Hilsa'.
A value chain has been already established, through the farming of milkfish in West Bengal using hatchery-produced milkfish seed from CIBA's experimental finfish hatchery at Muttukadu, Chennai. West Bengal is vested with 4,000,00 ha of brackishwater resources, which offers tremendous opportunity to undertake milkfish farming.
Vijayan emphasised brackishwater aquaculture is one of the vibrant farming sectors, and CIBA's research findings have direct applications in the field. He also said, with milkfish, being a herbivore, which also accepts low protein feed, cost of production is only in the range of Rs 90-120 to a size of 500 gm in six months, with market price of Rs 150-250.
According to the agreement, the technical assistance will be given in two phases. In the first phase, hatchery produced fertilized eggs from CIBA will be given for further rearing to produce stockable size milkfish seeds. Simultaneously, sub-adults will be obtained from farms and wild to build broodstock to start the second phase, followed by hatchery production of milkfish seeds in West Bengal. The joint effort would be able to provide quality milkfish seeds round the year in West Bengal and neighbouring states and is expected to provide jobs to fisher folk.
In two phases
CIBA is planning to set up a state-of-the-art finfish hatchery in West Bengal. According to the agreement signed, technical assistance will be given for the facility in two phases