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Warm greetings from ICAR-CIFA!
Freshwater aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food producing sector contributing to nearly half of India’s total fisheries production of 11.41 mmt in 2016-17. ICAR-CIFA, the premier research institute involved in research and development in freshwater aquaculture has over the years significantly contributed to the growth of this sector by developing and standardizing new technologies for increasing production and productivity. Though there is great scope of further improvement in production through horizontal and vertical expansion there are also new challenges to this sector due to new and emerging diseases, decreasing pond productivity, climate change associated problems, decreasing availability of freshwater as well as increasing inputs cost.
Considering the present scenario and future challenges in freshwater aquaculture, the way forward in research is in species and system diversification, genetic improvement of important cultured species through a combination of selective breeding and modern biotechnological tools, development of high quality formulated feeds for different life stages of important cultured species, disease diagnostic kits for existing and emerging diseases and chemical formulations or vaccines for existing diseases. Research efforts also need to focus on improving water productivity, soil and water conservation for long term benefits. As there is a wide gap in technologies available and their implementation in the field there is an urgent need to disseminate the available new technologies to the farmers field through latest available communication tools such as mobile apps, social media platforms etc. We also need to focus our attention to create awareness about the need of accreditation of hatcheries of major species for providing the sector with quality seed. Registration of farms will help to enforce responsible aquaculture practices. The sector also needs strong policy support that is in tune with the current times to provide the much needed thrust to the developmental efforts in the sector.
Our endeavor now is to bring all stakeholders together and work towards development of need based new technologies and to disseminate the developed technologies to the end users with the help of all available players in the field.
I look forward with cautious optimism and sincerely hope that we will be able to fulfill the expectations of all the stakeholders.
With best regards,
Dr. B.R. Pillai
Director (Acting), ICAR- CIFA