State govt. to promote cage aquaculture in Hirakud reservoir

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha state has vast fresh water resources extending around  6.84  lakh  hectares. During 2019-20 the Odisha produced around 8.16 lakh Metric tonnes of fish. The demand and  consumption  of  fresh water  fish such as  Indian Major Carps and other varieties is  ever   increasing   in  Odisha.  In  order  to  increase  the  fresh  water fish production,  the  State  Government  has  come out with a  new  policy  to  promote cage culture in medium and large reservoirs of the State. Utilizing a modest fraction (1%) of the surface area, the large and medium reservoirs can contribute a substantial quantity  of fish to the total inland fish production basket of Odisha.

Cage Culture fisheries is an emerging technology for intensive production of fish and has a huge potential for increasing the fish production. It is often considered as the future  of  reservoir  fisheries  which  can  lead  to achieving  self-sufficiency  in  the  fish demand of the state and also promote entrepreneurship in aqua culture and create job opportunities.

The Cages are enclosed spaces to rear fish in reservoirs and enclosed on all sides with net walls, except for leaving an opening are generally at the top for feeding and handling the fish stock. The Cages are of many shapes (circular, square or rectangular) and are equally good from production point of view and their choice is mainly based on considerations such as fish species to be farmed, endurance, cost, availability of materials, convenience in assembling and transporting the components.

In the first phase, cage culture will be promoted in 5 zones and 100 subzones of Hirakud reservoir which can cover around 2400 cages. These identified sub-zones will be leased out to Primary   Fishery   Cooperative   Societies,   Fish   Farmers, Private entrepreneurs or companies. Each sub-zone has a cage surface area of 600 m2 and can accommodate a maximum of 24 nos. of rectangular cages of 6 m length x 4 m width x    4 m depth dimension or 3 nos. of circular cages of 16 m  diameter. In  a rectangular  cage around 3000 Kg of fish can be harvested.

Various fish species like Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, Amur Carp, Pangasius, Mono-sex  GIFT tilapia, Asian Seabass / Barramundi, Pearl spot, Butter catfish etc will be allowed    to be cage cultured. The cage culture guidelines have strict conditions for maintaining water quality, cage maintenace, fish health monitoring etc.

The Fisheries and Animal Resources Department through  the  Director  of Fisheries has invited Expression of Interests (EOI) from interested farmers and entrepreneurs for availing long term lease (5 years extendable to a  maximum  of  another 5 years) of the subzones in Hirakud reservoir.

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