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Expert Advice from ICAR-CIBA to Enhance Your Fish Culture: Celebrating National Fish Farmer Day 2024

National Fish Farmer Day 2024 is approaching. Realizing this, Dr. Debasis De shares essential advice for fish farmers to boost profitability and sustainability in aquaculture.

Shreetu Singh
Expert Advice from ICAR-CIBA to Enhance Your Fish Culture: Celebrating National Fish Farmer Day 2024 (Image Source: Canva)
Expert Advice from ICAR-CIBA to Enhance Your Fish Culture: Celebrating National Fish Farmer Day 2024 (Image Source: Canva)

India ranks third globally in fish production, contributing 8 percent to the global output, employing around 14 million people across fisheries and allied activities. Leading the charge are Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat, which stand as the country's top fish-producing states. Their contributions highlight India's significant presence in the global fisheries industry, emphasizing both traditional fishing practices and modern aquaculture techniques. 

Staying informed about the latest advancements and best practices is crucial for fish farmers aiming to enhance productivity and sustainability. To gain deeper insights into the field, Krishi Jagran spoke with Dr. Debasis De, Principal Scientist & Head, KRC, ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA), West Bengal. Known for his expertise in aquaculture and fisheries management, Dr. De shared valuable advice for fish farmers on the occasion of National Fish Farmer Day 2024.

Use Cost-Effective Feeding Solutions

According to Dr. Debasis De, the profitability of fish culture has been declining due to the high input costs. He recommends that farmers should adopt low-cost input feeds to maximize their profits. One such innovation is Plankton Plus, a product developed by CIBA using fish waste. This product significantly enhances plankton production in ponds, providing a natural feed source for fish and improving their survival and growth rates. Dr. De noted, "Using Plankton Plus during pond preparation can lead to a 9-19% increase in fish survival rates and a 9-10% increase in fish body weight. Overall, fish production can increase up to 900-1700 kg per hectare."

In addition to Plankton Plus, CIBA has developed Polyplus, a cost-effective feed for fish. Dr. De emphasizes that using both Polyplus and Plankton Plus can significantly reduce input costs and increase farmers' profits.

Implement Polyculture 

He also advocates for polyculture, the practice of cultivating multiple fish species together, which can further enhance profitability. Most profitable species for fish culture include Mystus gulio, milkfish (Chanos chanos), Etroplus, and Hilsa. Farmers should ensure that seeds and feed for these species are readily available and that there is local consumer demand for them.

Need of Cold Chain Facilities

A major challenge for fish farmers is the lack of cold chain facilities in villages. This often leads to buyers dictating the price of fish. Dr. De highlights the importance of establishing cold chain facilities, which would empower farmers to set their own prices. "With a cold chain, farmers can store their produce and negotiate better prices, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their efforts," he explained.

Water Quality Management

  • Disinfect water: Maintaining water quality is essential for successful fish farming. Dr. De advises farmers to disinfect water at the beginning of the culture period to ensure it is free from harmful pathogens.

  • Promote plankton production: Use organic manure like Plankton Plus to boost plankton production. Plankton serves as a natural feed source for fish, contributing to their growth and survival.

  • Avoid overfeeding: Overfeeding fish can lead to water quality deterioration. Dr. De recommends avoiding overfeeding and regularly changing water when its quality declines to maintain a healthy pond environment.

Disease Prevention

  • Use disease-free seeds: To prevent diseases, Dr. De recommends using disease-free seeds. Healthy seeds are less likely to introduce pathogens into the pond.

  • Maintain pond hygiene: Farmers should wash their hands before handling fish and use separate footwear for the farm and other areas to maintain hygiene and prevent contamination.

  • Recycle water: Dr. De stresses the importance of recycling water rather than discharging it directly into the environment. Recycling water helps maintain environmental sustainability and prevents pollution.

On this National Fish Farmer Day 2024, Dr. Debasis De's advice offers valuable insights for fish farmers looking to improve their practices and achieve better profitability. By adopting low-cost input feeds, implementing polyculture, establishing cold chain facilities, managing water quality, and preventing diseases, fish farmers can enhance their productivity and contribute to a sustainable aquaculture industry in India.

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