INDIA - Now is the opportune time for India to make its presence felt in the global shrimp market as leading players — Viet Nam and China have been affected by early mortality syndrome. The disease has almost wiped out the cultured shrimp population, said S. Kandan, Assistant Director of the Marine Products Export Development Authority.
Mr Kandan was delivering a speech at a symposium on “Recent trends in shrimp farming” organised by the Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, at Porto Novo near here on Tuesday.
He further said that the shrimp export was a major forex earner. It had netted Rs 23,000 crore last year. Though major aquaculture farmers had quit the profession, small farmers had stepped in, that too in a big way. The share of the small farmers in exports was about 60 per cent. Mr Kandan noted that in the early 70s shrimp farming witnessed a boom as many big companies had then set up farms on even 100 hectares, TheHindu reports.
But in 1995 the outbreak of the white spot disease that decimated the young shrimps dealt a mortal blow to the shrimp culture. Environmental issues compounded the problem and took a toll on the trade.
However, resilient small farmers who had taken to acquaculture thereafter had revived the shrimp industry to certain extent. He pointed out that Viet Nam and China which were earlier doing extremely well in the trade had suffered a severe setback by the “early mortality syndrome” which affected shrimps as young as 40 days.
Mr Kandan said that such a situation would turn advantageous to India, if the farmers adopted appropriate bio-security measures such as quarantining the imported exotic brood stocks, adopting standard operating procedures such as testing the seeds before breeding and also conducting pre-harvest tests.
Considering the key role played by acquaculture in improving country’s economy it would be appropriate to start an “Aquaculture centre in Porto Novo,” Mr Kandan said.
Director and Dean of the Centre K.Kathiresan said that shrimp exports had the potential to touch Rs 5 billion in the next couple of years. His Centre which was a pioneer in marine biology centre had so far produced 475 PhDs, published 2,000 research papers and, completed 65 research projects.
Organising secretary Professor M.Srinivasan said that next to agriculture, aquaculture was the biggest source of livelihood in the country.
Joint Director of Fisheries Department Karunakaran said that to check unwieldy growth of aquaculture farms and to streamline their functioning, district fisheries development agency had been set up.
V.S.Chandrasekar, senior scientist of the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture stressed the need for starting a separate course on shrimp farming. S.Santhana Krishnan, MD Maritech, a consultation firm, said that manpower shortage had affected the growth of the trade.
He said that there were ample employment opportunities for the marine biology students, who had adequate hands-on experience, in the country and abroad.
TheFishSite News Desk