Kochi, May 24 (IANS) Experimental farming on a commercial scale with participation of local fish farmers, for the first time in Kerala, by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) at Moothakunnam near here has yielded a bumper harvest of green mussel.
The attempt has shown that innovative farming technology Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), which combines appropriate proportions of fish, seaweeds and filter feeding bivalves to create balanced systems for environmental and economic stability, is economically feasible and well-suited to Kerala’s ecosystem, as per CMFRI experts.
The CMFRI started the venture in December last year as part of its research initiative for developing a sustainable cage fish farming model suitable to Kerala’s ecosystem.
In the first harvest among the three crops of the integrated farming, around one tonne of green mussel was yielded from 150 strings hung around as many as four fish cages. Individual mussel grew to the size of 72 grams which is a successful growth rate in mussel farming.
A scientific team led by CMFRI’s Principal Scientist, Shoji Joseph, also observed that the fishes inside the cage attained better growth and seaweed being cultured around the cage also showed healthy status with fast growth rate.
The fishes will be harvested by the end of the next month.
Joseph said that apart from enhanced income through diversified crops from a particular area during the same time period, the IMTA helps maintain environmental sustainability.
“Excess nutrients and carbon dioxide from the cage farm are directly or indirectly utilized by green mussel and seaweeds,” she said.
CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan said that the institute would take steps to popularise the IMTA practice across the coastal states, as in the case of cage fish farming.
“The popularisation of this innovative technology in line with the increasing trend of adoption of cage farming technology will help transform the lives of coastal community,” he said.