Cage Fish Culture In Hirakud Reservoir Is A Successful Model: Odisha Chief Secy

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Bhubaneswar: Cage Fish Culture in Hirakud Reservoir is a successful model and will soon augment Odisha’s freshwater fish production, said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra on Sunday.

The Chief Secretary today inspected the fish farming in the cages set up in the Hirakud reservoir and held talks with the fishermen, entrepreneurs and departmental officials. Expressing satisfaction with the progress of the field-level fish farming, Mr Mohapatra directed the officials of Fishery and Animal Resources Development to operationalise the necessary infrastructure such as the Common Facility Center, Testing Laboratory and Floating Jetty.

Mohapatra assured the entrepreneurs that the state government would provide the necessary infrastructure and cooperation for the development of Cage Fish Culture. At the Common Facility Center, farmers can classify, weigh, and prepare for marketing. There will be also water, electricity, sanitation and toilets for farmers. The Fisheries Research Laboratory will also help with aquatic and animal health monitoring and environmental balance research. Fishermen can check the health of the fish growing in the cage and take the necessary steps to produce quality products.

The Chief Secretary directed the departmental officials to limit the cage culture to 1 per cent of the area above the reservoir.

Hirakud ‘s Deputy Director of Fisheries appraised that so far,  32 cage aquaculture zones encompassing 625 sub-zones were identified well within the limits of national guidelines.

Of these, 101 subzones were allotted to the local entrepreneurs through the invitation of the expression of interest (EoI). So far 71 entrepreneurs started their field operations after signing MoU with the department. Cage installation was complete in 30 sub-zones. It was decided to mobilize other selected entrepreneurs for completing the installation of 180 circular cages over 60 sub-zones and 264 rectangular cages over 11 sub-zones in the coming 6 months.

Notably, one sub-zone can be fitted with 3 round cages with a diameter of 14 m and a depth of 5 m or 24 rectangular cages of 4 x 4 x 4 meters. 25 to 30 tons of fish can be harvested from each round cage. With the start of production in the allotted sub-zones, more than 18,500 tonnes of fish will be harvested at a time.

Hirakud reservoir has the vast potential for Cage Fish Culture. It would accommodate 1875 circular cages of 16 mt diameters and 5 mt depth or 15000 rectangular cages of 4x6x4 mt dimensions with a production potential of more than 45,000 metric tons of fish. Each circular cage can produce around 25 to 30 metric tons of fish. Different fish species could be grown in this cage culture technique. With the installation of cages in 101 allotted subzones over the coming 6 months, one could expect a bumper production of around 14500 MT of freshwater fish in each harvesting cycle. There could be two harvesting cycles in a year. Chief Secretary Sri Mahapatra said that State Government also initiated the process for providing market-link support to the entrepreneurs.

Experts and intellectuals hope that the use of technology, public participation, and private investment in freshwater fish farming will contribute to economic growth.

Senior officials of the concerned departments, including Sambalpur District Collector Dibya Jyoti Parida and Deputy Director of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Biraja Prakash Dwibedi, provided the latest updates for the review by the Chief Secretary.

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