Islanders pin hopes on aquarium shrimps


Fish genetics bureau supplies ornamental shrimps, accessories to farmers in Agatti

The National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, which has a germ plasm resource centre for marine ornamental invertebrates on Agatti island in Lakshadweep, is lending a helping hand to those wanting to rear ornamental shrimps.

On February 5, the fish genetics bureau centre supplied a hundred F2 generation Thor hainnensis variety of ornamental shrimps for further rearing to a cluster of farmers who have set up a rearing unit on Agatti island. They will rear the shrimps for another two months before selling them to ornamental fish keepers or sellers.

The bureau has supplied plastic tubs, aeration devices and other accessories needed for shrimp rearing along with the F2 generation of ornamental shrimps. The materials for the unit have been supplied for free under the Tribal Sub Plan with financial support from the Union Department of Biotechnology, according to a scientist at the NBFGR. Director Kuldeep Lal told The Hindu that the bureau had taken up the assignment for germ plasm conservation and livelihood promotion of the islanders. Ornamental shrimp rearing would be a source of additional income for them and a considerable economic activity as it grows, he added.

Diversified options

The islandersโ€™ means of livelihood are limited to tuna, copra, and tourism. Diversified livelihood opportunities are a way forward, Dr. Lal added. A survey in different Lakshadweep islands has revealed hidden biodiversity and new shrimp species.

Thor hainanensis and Ancylocaris brevicarpalis are high-value marine ornamental shrimps native to Lakshadweep. They are much in demand in the international aquarium trade but at present the demand is met with wild collections only, said a communication from the ICAR-NBFGR. The bureau has developed the ornamental shrimp brood stock/parents in captivity and standardised the technology for captive production.

The NBFGR team has given hands-on training for a month to the islanders and extended the rearing technology to 40 women. The communication added that it was the first-of-its-kind programme in the country on marine ornamental shrimp conservation and livelihood promotion.

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