The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has initiated the process of caged fish farming with the help of advanced technologies in Kadalundipuzha. The latest technique in aqua farming has been set up with the support and guidance of Cheriyathiruthy Ambali Baburaj, who combines the expertise of traditional fish farming with modern, innovative methods. Baburaj has won national recognition for his passion for aqua culture and expertise in fish farming.
CMFRI introduced the concept of environment-friendly fish farming in natural habitat as part of its 70th birth anniversary celebrations. The caged fish farming technique comes under the project called Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture.
An appreciable aspect of caged fish farming is that it can be carried out as a parallel system while making use of the excess nutrients got from large scale aqua farming. CMFRI scientists have mooted a project to combine mussels farming alongside caged fish farming.
The farming is carried out inside specially-made cages, 16 sq ft in dimension. The cages are then covered all over with nylon fishing nets and lowered on to plastic buoys into the river. These buoys keep gently floating up and down along with the rise and fall of tides.
Usually, it’s the fry (baby fish) of the Red Snapper (Chemballi), caught from the river that’s raised in Kadalundipuzha’s cages. Since they are sourced from the river itself, the babies will thrive in a healthy way and grow up fast, say the scientists. It’s been found that wherever there’s caged fish farming, a parallel source of aqua farming is also carried out.
The cages are fashioned and designed in such a way that mussels can be farmed along their sides. This is especially done in Malabar where the climate is most suited for this type of farming. Mussels can be raised on nets tied to the cages, says Principal Scientist of CMFRI, Dr P K Asokan and Dr P P Suresh Babu, who developed the farming procedure.
The farming begins by placing two-month-old babies inside the cages. If they are cared for and nurtured, by ten months, you get full-grown fish, each weighing up to a kilo.
The CMFRI plans to set up ten such cages in places like Padanna, Muchukunnu, Chaliyam and Ponnani.
The program got up to set the fish seeds inside the cages was inaugurated by panchayat president C K Ajaykumar. Others who took part included C Rameshan, CMFRI scientists Dr P K Asokan, Dr P P Suresh Babu, Dr K Vinod, fish farmer Ambali Baburaj and P Saseendran.