Distributive policy

PA formulating a policy for caged fish farming along the coast

VIJAYAWADA: The government of Andhra Pradesh is developing a policy to promote cage farming of fish in the sea along its 974 km coastline. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, based in Visakhapatnam, is helping the government finalize the policy.

A key aspect is geospatial mapping to identify the places where the cages will be installed and to study the chemical and biological parameters of the water to know the suitability of the location for fish farming.

There are plans to breed fish species like grouper, sea boss, Indian pomfret and silver pomfret. Each cage will be four meters wide and six meters deep. It will be placed in the shallow waters of the sea coast at a depth of 15 meters. Each cage is expected to cost ₹5 lakh and a group of 10 cages includes a fish farming unit. The cages will float in shallow water with a net attached underneath. There will be a platform around a group of cages for regular fish feeding and maintenance.

The challenges are that installing cages is an expensive affair. AP has a wave-beaten coast with strong tidal waves, which can influence the stability of the cages. In addition, the authorities must ensure that these cages do not disturb the navigation of nearly 17,000 fishermen, who regularly go fishing at sea. Nor must they affect the 350 fish landing centers distributed all along the littoral.

Keeping all these aspects in mind, the state government is looking for entrepreneurs and technocrats who can come forward to venture into cage fish farming. This involves the establishment of hatcheries for the distribution of fingerlings and the establishment of feed supply centers and other infrastructure such as transport, storage and marketing facilities, among others.

A senior Fisheries Department official said, “A policy is being developed to promote cage culture of fish along the PA coastline at all viable locations by involving contractors. This will help the state generate revenue and also create good job opportunities.

  • The state government will provide grants of up to 40-60% of the unit cost to BC, SC, ST and women contractors, and OC contractors.
  • Commercial scale sea fish cage farming is already underway off Ullipalem in Koduru mandal and also at Nagayalanka in Krishna district.
  • Varieties of fish like grouper and sea boss are in demand in the local market
  • Entrepreneurs can explore the international market to export several varieties of fish depending on the demand.