Innovation to the rescue: Pilot Cage fish culture in Kutch

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Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power has initiated cage fish culture in the Kutch region of Gujarat. It is a piloting exercise started by CGPL in the outfall channel. In this practice, the cage confines the fish in a mesh enclosure, making it easier to feed, observe and harvest them. The practice also helps in ascertaining the quality of water by considering the amount of dissolved oxygen in water.  The Cage is placed in outfall channel where fish and crabs are raised and fed very systematically.  It is anticipated that this method of cage fish culture could give local fishermen a viable model to replicate. The experiment has established that the water in the outfall channel is conducive for marine life. The survival and growth of the fishes are the indicators for this conclusion.  Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) had provided technical support to CGPL for cage fish culture. The pilot cage fish culture began with Cobia in 2012-13, a species of marine fish and was a first-of-its-kind initiative for the fishery sector. After several encouraging signs of cage fishing with cobia, CGPL has also begun raising crabs and several species of fish in cages. The project was launched after comprehensive rounds of consultation between CGPL and a team of prominent scientists, who looked into factors such as the region’s water quality. After showcasing proof that cages can be used to cultivate fish efficiently, the project has also been endorsed by the senior marine scientists at the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) in Bhuj.

To improve the quality of infrastructure, cages with floating capacity have been built to allow adequate availability of water from all sides. In this setup, fish or crabs are put into the cage for an average duration of 30 days after measuring their length and collective weight. After a period of 30 days, the collective weight and length of the species are once again recorded and then species are released into the sea. This practice has led to a significant rise in the average weight of the species. Till date, CGPL has conducted 18 rounds of cage fishing activities in the outfall channel.

Seeing the success of CGPL’s Pilot Sea Cage fishing, other nearby industry players are also planning to carry out the same.

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