The cage fish farming project in the Hirakud reservoir is a success

The cage fish farming project in Odisha’s Hirakud Reservoir has proven to be a successful model, and it will soon be replicated in other parts of the state to dramatically increase inland freshwater fish production, a said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra.

After assessing his progress during the recent on-site visit to the cage culture site in Hirakud Reservoir, Mahapatra appreciated the progress made so far in the fish farming activities.

Relevant departments have been instructed to operationalize the joint facility center and the testing laboratory ahead of the mass harvest, Mahapatra said, requesting the relevant authorities to expedite the fixing of the floating fish landing jetty in a limited time.

The state government has decided to provide the necessary infrastructural support to promote fishing activities in the reservoir. The inland fisheries research laboratory would be made functional for aquaculture health monitoring and environmental impact assessment. It would also help fish farmers test the health of fish reared in the cages, Chief Secretary Mahapatra said.

So far, 32 cage aquaculture areas encompassing 625 sub-areas have been identified well within national guidelines. Of these, 101 sub-zones were awarded to local contractors by invitation for expression of interest (EoI). So far, 71 contractors have started their field operations after signing a memorandum of understanding with the department. The installation of cages has been completed in 30 sub-areas. It has been decided to mobilize other selected contractors to complete the installation of 180 circular cages in 60 sub-areas and 264 rectangular cages in 11 sub-areas within the next 6 months, Deputy Director of Fisheries, Biraja said. Prakash Dwibedi.

The Hirakud Reservoir has vast potential for caged fish farming. It would accommodate 1875 circular cages of 16 mt. diameters and 5 meters deep, i.e. 15,000 rectangular cages measuring 4x6x4 meters with a potential production of more than 45,000 metric tons of fish.

Each circular cage can produce around 25-30 tons of fish. Different species of fish could be cultured in this cage culture technique. With the installation of cages in 101 allocated sub-areas over the next 6 months, a bumper production of around 14,500 MT of freshwater fish could be expected in each harvest cycle. There may be two harvest cycles per year.

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