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Cage Culture Catches up in Coastal Districts

INDIA - A ban on monsoon fishing need not be an unproductive session for fishermen. The Capture Based Aquaculture (CBA) or cage culture, which is gaining popularity among fishermen, could provide an alternative source of fish when adverse climatic conditions prevent them from venturing into the sea.

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute officials, who introduced this technology in Uppunda near Byndoor last year, say this concept could be popularized along the coast for sustainable use of finfish resources to augment fish production, reports TimesOfIndia.

"The institute, on an experimental basis and to educate fishermen, installed five cages at Uppunda last year and of them, three were partially harvested when fish grew to marketable size. The total production from three cages, including sea bass, red snapper and pearl spot, was around 750 kg realising a farm gate price of Rs 1.5 lakh. The cages were harvested when the mechanised fishing was banned," Dinesh Babu, senior scientist at CMFRI, Mangalore, said.

Mr Babu says the estuarine and coastal waters of the state is known for the abundance of finfish seeds of mullets, sand whiting, pearl spot, milkfish, Indian terapon, butterfish and flatfishes. During June-September, juveniles of a number of cultivable species of finfish are caught in the seines, cast nets and gillnets operated along the coast.

The institute has set up three demonstrative units at Mulihitlu a month ago to popularise it in Dakshina Kannada. Ravindra Kharvi of Sampradayaka Meenugara Sangha, Byndoor Valaya of Uppunda village, says fish can be harvested once in two years and fetch about Rs 200 per kg. The cages cost about Rs 30,000 and can be used for three to four years. He has introduced juveniles in three cages in November and expects a harvest of 500-700 kg in two years.

Lucy Towers

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