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Startup to setup India's first private Asian seabass hatchery

14 September 2020, at 12:00pm

India’s first Asian private seabass (Lates calcarifer) hatchery has been set up by three graduates from the Mangalore Fisheries College.

Established with technical support from the ICAR Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) in Chennai, it is the first start-up of its kind in India’s private sector.

An MoU was signed between the CIBA and Canares Aquaculture, which is owned by the graduates, allowing them to use CIBA’s technology for seabass seed production in exchange for 5,000 rupees for transfer of their technology and 10 per cent royalty on the net profit of the company. Canares has 80 tanks in the hatchery, giving them the capacity to produce 3 million fish a year.

Karthik Gowda VS, Kaushik Alike and Sachin V Savan were inspired to launch the venture following a visit to CIBA’s seabass hatchery at Muttukadu experimental station during their degree programme. CIBA helped to enabled them to obtain funding to launch the firm from industrialist HS Gajanan, who owned a defunct shrimp hatchery.

"We had discussions with him. He and his wife became our angel investors. The shrimp hatchery building which he had bought earlier is now the sea bass hatchery," Kaushik told IANS.

According to The New Indian Express, KK Vijayan, director of CIBA, called the initiative a milestone in brackishwater aquaculture.

“It is a path-breaking development in country’s aquaculture sector with youngsters coming to this field. Start-up ventures will pave way for a resurgence and growth in the brackishwater aquaculture, especially Asian seabass farming in the country,” he said.

Vijayan noted that the private sector has been reluctant to enter marine fish seed production, due to the relatively long production cycle and need for unique skill sets to rear marine fish larvae.

“It is heartening to see fisheries graduates becoming aquaculture entrepreneurs. Since they are equipped with technical skills in the area, they are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs,” he said.