Kochi: Setting a stage for increasing the brackishwater fish production in Kerala, the Chennai-headquartered ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquculture (CIBA) has partnered with the state Fisheries Department to set up a multi-species fish hatchery under the aegis of the government.

An MoU was signed between the CIBA and Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK) of the Government of Kerala for the establishment of the hatchery at Odayam in Thiruvananthapuram district, following the initiatives taken by Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma.  According to the MoU, the CIBA will provide scientific and technical support to the government for developing captive breeding and seed production technology of commercially important brackishwater fishes—Asian seabass, milkfish and Kerala’s state fish pearl spot.   The hatchery will target seed production of these species throughout the season enabling continuous seed production.  In addition to being a seed production centre, the partnership between CIBA and the state government also aims to support critical human resources development in the niche area through regular and continuous hands-on training programmes.


Dr. K.K. Vijayan, Director of CIBA described CIBA’s linkage as knowledge partner with the Kerala government a ‘game-changer’ in state’s brackishwater aquaculture sector as it, according to him, would become an ideal model for transfer of technologies in a farmer-focussed manner. The establishment of the much needed brackishwater multi-species hatchery is timely and would provide stimulus for augmenting brackishwater finfish production in the state along with enhancing the livelihood generation during every step of the fish production process, he said.

“Kerala is endowed with rich brackishwater resources to the tune of 1.26 lakh ha. Since timely availability of fish seeds in sufficient quantity is still a major constraint, the brackishwater aquaculture is yet to explore its potential resources. Timely availability of seeds in a farmer-friendly way will help develop the sector”, he said.

“Partnership between research institutions and the government agencies is crucial to develop and popularise sustainable aquaculture practice”, Dr Vijayan added.  

“The proposed hatchery will help boosting the sustainable brackishwater fish production in the state as it addresses the critical issue being faced by the fish farmers—inadequate seed availability of brackishwater fishes”,said Tinku Biswal, IAS, Secretary to the Department of Fisheries and Chairperosn of the Executive Committee of the ADAK.

According to Dr M. Kailasam, Principal Scientist & Head-in-Charge of Fish Culture Division of CIBA, fish species such as seabass, milkfish and pearl spot are ideal for Kerala, considering resilient nature of the species to changing salinities and their market demand in the state. Dr Dinesan Cheruvat, Executive Director of the ADAK hoped that the agency could build up more technology partnerships in the areas such as hatchery, indigenous feeds, aquatic animal health and stock improvement.