Seabass (Lates calcarifer)
Milkfish (Chanos chanos)
Grouper (Epinepelus spp)
India ranks second in culture and third in capture fisheries production and is one
of the leading nations in marine products export. The present marine fisheries scenario
is characterized by declining yields from the inshore waters and increasing conflicts
among different stakeholders, whereas the increasing demand for fish in domestic
and export markets indicate good prospects for large scale sea farming and coastal
mariculture. The mariculture potential of India is vast as there is great scope
for developing farming of shrimps, pearl oysters, mussels, crabs, lobsters, sea
bass, groupers, mullets, milkfish, rabbitfish, sea cucumber, ornamental fishes,
seaweeds etc. Although about 1.2 million ha is suitable for land based saline aquaculture
in India, currently only 13 % is utilized. In India till date mariculture activities
are confined only to coastal brackishwater aquaculture, chiefly shrimp farming.
Mariculture potential in India
Depending on the geographical and ecological diversities of the country, there are
vast differences in the availability and suitability of areas that can be developed
for mariculture and also in the candidate species available for cultivation. Species
like shrimps and the finfish like grey mullets, milkfish, pearl spot, seabass, groupers,
redsnapper, breams and pompanos are suitable for farming all along the Indian coast
especially along the south west and south east coasts.
Open sea cage culture
The open sea cage culture has been expanding in recent years on a global basis and
it is viewed by many stakeholders in the industry as the aquaculture system of the
millennium. Cage culture has made possible the large-scale production of commercial
finfish in many parts of the world and can be considered as the most efficient and
economical way of rising fish. It has now been realized that further conversion
of wetlands and mangroves into traditional aquaculture farms has to be limited.
Cage culture has several advantages over other culture systems. The cage culture
system can optimize the carrying capacity per unit area since the flow of current
brings in fresh water and removes metabolic wastes, excess feed and faecal matter.
Simple cage designs for inshore waters are relatively easy to construct with minimal
skilled labour. Cage culture is a low input farming practice with high economic
return. The Indian coast offers many ideal locations for cage farming.
In the area of marine fish culture, the country is still in the experimental phase
only. Attempts are being made to develop suitable hatchery and farming technology
for mullets (Mugil cephalus, Liza macrolepis, V. seheli),
groupers (Epinephelus tauvina), seabass (Lates calcarifer), milkfish
(Chanos chanos) and pearlspot (Etroplus suratensis). The Central
Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has developed an indigenous hatchery
technology for seabass using captive broodstock. Some of the seafishes that are
grown in India and those that have immense potential from Kerala’s perspective
is dealt herein.