World Aquaculture - September 2023

56 SEPTEMBER 2023 • WORLD AQUACULTURE • WWW.WAS.ORG market, species for cage culture should be selected based on the following three criteria: • Economic value: it should be sufficiently high to generate profits for cage culture farmers. • Nutritional value: health-conscious consumers are worried about what kind of fish they eat. So it will be important to choose fish which have high nutritional profiles. • Regional preferences: In freshwater cage culture, fish will be produced primarily for local markets. Hence, rearing of fish which have greater local consumption will be advantageous. The following indigenous species should be incorporated into the Indian cage culture domain: Labeo bata, L. rohita (Jayanti rohu), Osteobrama belangeri (pengba), Ompok bimaculatus (pabda), Anabas testudineus (Climbing perch), Pangasius pangasius, Puntius sarana, Chitala chitala (featherback), Channa striatus and C. marulius (Murrels), Wallago attu and Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Criteria for Site Selection • Cage installation sites should have an average water depth of at least 5 m. • Water quality should be acceptable and free from domestic and industrial pollution. In small reservoirs, sites near sluice gates and irrigation channels should be avoided to prevent damage to cages. • There should be reliable transportation from land to the cage culture site. • Sites with frequent or heavy algal blooms may attract fouling organisms and should be avoided. • Sites should be free of aquatic vegetation and high densities of wild fish, both of which may cause oxygen stress. • Cages need to be placed in such a way that they will not hinder navigational activity. • Sites should be away from bathing and burning ghat locations and other socio-culturally important areas of public use, such as drinking water collection points. • Avoid fish breeding and nursery grounds and other critical wildlife habitat. Advantages for cage culture in India • Different types of open water resources such as reservoirs, lakes, ponds, streams and rivers can be used to enhance fish production. • The capital investment is low as compared to other culture systems, especially pond culture. There is no need to find suitable land sites with good soil and water sources. • Open water bodies can be used for multiple purposes like irrigation, drinking water, electricity generation and fishing without creating much conflict. Monitoring, handling, feeding, sampling and harvesting are simplified. • Less manpower is required for cage farming. • Job opportunities are created for rural communities, especially for unemployed youth and women. • Cage culture can provide additional income to fishers during closed seasons. Disadvantages for cage culture in India • Feed must be complete and balanced for most cage farming. • Water quality management is quite difficult. • Fouling organisms may attach on cages. • Risk of disease can be high in cage culture. • Poaching is a potential problem. • Water pollution and eutrophication can cause severe losses. Prospects of Freshwater Cage Farming in India Indian freshwater bodies are highly suitable for cage culture of many fish species. There is a huge demand in local markets, especially in lake and reservoir areas, for nutritionally superior quality fish. It is easy to harvest and sell the fish in live condition from nearby cage culture sites. Other positive aspects of Indian freshwater cage culture include: • The availability of various state and central government sponsored initiatives and financial assistance for implementing cage culture in open water bodies. • The availability of need-based training programs for entrepreneurship development through demonstrations, trainings, visits to successful farms and other activities. • The availability of unexploited and high market value fishes like minor carps, murrels, pengba, freshwater prawn, and others. • The availability of skilled human resources who can work in many disciplines. Cage installed in Kaneri Reservoir at Maharashtra Cage installed in Monali Reservoir at Maharashtra