First private seabass hatchery to be set up in Karnataka

Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture inks MoU with young entrepreneurs โ€” Karthik Gowda V.S., Kaushik Alike and Sachin V. Savan โ€” from Kumta.

Even though 23 years have passed since the Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) succeeded in the captive-breeding of Asian seabass (Koduva), a fish with high commercial value, hatcheries have remained only with government research institutions. The private sector has been more interested in shrimp farming.

Now, for the first time in the country, CIBA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a seabass hatchery in the private sector, on start-up mode, in Karnataka.

The MoU was signed with Canares Aquaculture, owned by young entrepreneurs Karthik Gowda V.S., Kaushik Alike and Sachin V. Savan, from Kumta in Karnataka, to ensure the transfer of CIBAโ€™s technology.

They were students at the Mangalore Fisheries College, and during a visit to CIBAโ€™s seabass hatchery at the Muttukadu Experimental Station, their interest was kindled, and the idea of setting up their own aquaculture start up was born.

When they approached CIBA authorities to set up a hatchery, the institute provided them technical guidance and field training in seabass nursery rearing.

The institute also followed up, enabling the start-up to obtain funding support to start the firm.

โ€œIt is a significant development in the countryโ€™s aquaculture sector, as youngsters coming to the field with start-up ventures will pave way for resurgence and growth in brackishwater aquaculture, especially Asian seabass farming in the country,โ€ said K.K. Vijayan, director, CIBA.

Reluctance of private sector

He explained that the private sector was largely reluctant to enter marine fish seed production because of the relatively longer production cycle and the need for a unique skill set to rear marine fish larvae.

M. Kailasam, principal scientist of CIBA, said eggs would be collected by inserting a small tube in the genital opening of the fish. โ€œWe will then analyse the eggs to ascertain their maturity. If they have reached the perfect stage, we will give the fish hormone injections to facilitate the release of eggs,โ€ he said. Hatchlings will be supplied to farmers after 25 days, he added.

Mr. Vijayan said in the case of these young fisheries graduates, if they possess technical skills in the area, they were more likely to become successful entrepreneurs in aquaculture. โ€œIt is equally important to use indigenous technologies in both hatchery reared seeds and formulated feeds for development of scientific seabass farming in the country,โ€ he reiterated.

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