Kochi: The Chennai headquartered Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA) has sought the support of the Kerala government to boost the aquaculture production of one of the most sought after fish in the state -- Pearl Spot known as Karimeen in local parlance.
Karimeen has always been much in demand, especially among foreign tourists. The popular tourist destination of Kumarakom is known for the availability of this fish in the Vemband lake.
Kumarakom shot into prominence after then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee spent his Christmas holidays there two decades back.
At Kumarakom a kilogram of Karimeen costs Rs 600 and upwards.
Kerala produces a meagre 2000 tonnes of Pearl Spot against a demand of 10,000 tonnes per annum through aquaculture, according to ICAR-CIBA.
K K Vijayan, director of CIBA, while speaking at a fish farmers meeting said it is high time that the state had a road map for the successful utilisation of brackishwater resources towards the betterment of Pearl Spot farming practices in Kerala.
"Even as the fish has a huge demand and market value in the state, the Pearl Spot farming sector is stagnating, unable to give the expected output. Data shows how far the state is lagging behind the targeted aquaculture production of this fish", said Vijayan.
"To increase the production, the sector requires a solid network of farmers, government agencies and aquaculture experts for ensuring the quality seeds and feeds which are essential for the smooth functioning and growth of the farming practice, added Vijayan.
"We are ready to provide all scientific and technological support if the state government develops a road map to improve the sector. Under CIBA's guidance, a Pearl Spot hatchery is being run by a farmer in Alappuzha district and the institute provides species-specific feeds and technical support to farmers in different parts of the state. The model can be replicated across the state for Pearl Spot farming", said Vijayan.