Warm greetings from ICAR-CIBA

      Sustainable intensification and transformation of India’s brackishwater aquaculture in response to changing scenario, is critical for global seafood availability, nutritional security and in turn trade revenues for the country. India is one of the major seafood producer and exporter, with shrimp as a major commodity of 8.43 lakh tons cultured in about 1.67 lakh ha area. During 2021-22, the foreign exchange earning of approximates $5.83 billion from frozen shrimp export of 7.28 lakh tons. The brackishwater aquaculture is important for the livelihood of millions of people, including the ancillary industries on inputs and processing. The research and policy initiatives, are required to work with synergy, more than before, to support the transformation of aquaculture in line with global planning processes. Some of the emerging needs are environment friendly practices, food safety and certifications, productivity enhancements through use of domesticated and improved varieties, resilient species for diversification, smart and best aquaculture practices, proactive disease prevention and governance, efficient feeds and utilization, capacity enhancement of communities for absorbing new technologies and improving land use for horizontal expansion to potential areas etc. The validated research and science-based solutions, such as assisted reproduction, Genome editing, genomics for improvement program etc, to the emerging problems and timely adaption by stakeholders through enabling environment will be key to future growth of the sustainable brackishwater aquaculture.

      ICAR-CIBA is working and responding to the needs of the sector and with convergence to the national policy such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana and providing technical inputs to state and central departments. The current research focus and efforts were directed to indigenous species Indian white shrimp and seabass for harnessing their market potential. For seabass, new technological intervention is necessary to take technology to the next level to address the broodstock and continuous availability of male gametes in the commercial hatcheries for shrimp aquaculture, the programs are established for captive broodstock development of Penaeus indicus, application of copefloc technology in shrimp production. ICAR-CIBA has put in place two important and novel initiatives, such as selective breeding program of Indian white shrimp with the support under PMMSY and developed and shrimp crop insurance product with the collaboration with Oriental Insurance Corporation Ltd and Alliance Insurance Brokers.

      Inland saline groundwater resources from north-western and western India, practices of shrimp farming have taken a good shape. However, there will necessity of technological interventions and assessment of farmer practices for sustainability of this system, diversification with new species and specific best aquaculture practices. Research on Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) cages as a livelihood activity for coastal fisher folks has potential for further research. ICAR-CIBA has entered a potential niche area with NFDB support, for using brackishwater seaweed species and assessing its benefits. The waste to wealth technology to produce value addition product, will need to see wider assessment for its utilization and to increase its production and consumption market. Species diversification including food and ornamental organisms, technology developments vis a vis the market potential, finding gaps in closing the life cycle and fulfilling such gaps to develop the technologies will be a future thrust. This will also need relevant research on natural and formulated feeds and/or refining existing feeds for transforming to functional feeds or improve their efficiencies. The cost-effectiveness of the feeds for increasing revenues from farming remains an important area of work.

      ICAR-CIBA has grown with the farmers and industry, maintaining a reciprocal relationship and for that I express my gratitude to all my predecessor directors of this institute. Nutritional security of vulnerable coastal communities, their alternate income opportunities and domestic consumption of seafood will be given high importance alongside the industry and exports in the future interventions of ICAR-CIBA. In its forward journey, ICAR-CIBA will develop close working relationship with industry, state and central departments and also with civil societies, to enhance its linkages for community aquaculture and using the opportunity for expanding dissemination of its technologies.