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Successful Maiden Crop Paves Way for Commercial Venture

VISHAKAPATNAM - Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI ) has successfully harvested its first crop from the countrys maiden demonstration project for cage culture.

Initial attempts by CMFRI last year were not that successful, but this season has proved more hopeful.

CMFRI scientists said that some 1,400 seed of Asia Bass, known locally as Pandugappalu, were stocked in the cages on 23 December 2007.

They were fed with low-value fish on a daily basis. The first harvest was carried out last week and the results mean that commercial production could begin from June, said the scientists leading the trial work.

Mr Mohan Joseph Modayil of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education and former Director of CMFRI said that Visakhapatnam area had been chosen to demonstrate the project, as aqua farmers of Andhra Pradesh were pioneers, especially in shrimp culture.

CMFRI scientists said that cage culture of marine species is commercially viable and it will greatly enhance production.

China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia had made giant strides in cage culture and there was no reason why India, with all its advantages and expertise in aquaculture, should not equal the success of its competitors.

It is estimated that a capital investment of Rs 15 lakh would be needed to start the commercial venture , plus an additional Rs 16 lakh to cover the cost for seven months production. The yield would be approximately 25 tonnes and the estimated return would be Rs 35 lakh per crop.

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