Asian seabass Lates calcarifer is an economically important food fish in India and being farmed in brackishwater ponds and cages installed in brackishwater and open sea. Availability of stockable size fingerlings is a constraint for expansion of its farming. Many nursery rearing operators rear seabass fingerlings in the conventional earthen ponds by feeding with low value fishes and shrimps, which is an unsustainable activity. Hence, an improved scientific farming method was developed by the ICAR – CIBA for seabass fingerlings production in a backwater based nursery rearing using formulated feed. This technology has been promoted under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) programme of ICAR – CIBA to improve livelihood of the rural coastal fisherwomen Self Help Groups (SHG) at Kottaikadu village, Cheyyur Taluk, Chengalpattu District, Tamil Nadu. During the year 2022, the SHGs sold the nursery reared seabass fingerlings (10,500 Nos.) and generated a revenue of Rs. 4, 20,000/- was generated by these fisherwomen SHGs. Dr. L. Murugan, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Information and Broadcasting, Government of India distributed the revenue generated by these SHGs during the Garib Kalyan Sammelan held at ICAR – CIBA, Chennai on 31st May 2022.
The second batch of nursery reared seabass fingerlings were sold and a revenue of Rs. 1,58,000/- was generated. In addition to that through brackishwater cage farming, these SHGs have generated Rs. 2,21,350/- by selling the farm produced seabass weighing 700 – 1200 g size. Altogether a sum of Rs. 3,79,350/- was realized through the sales of seabass from these activities undertaken by the SHGs.
Nursery rearing of seabass seed for the year 2023 was initiated by distribution of hatchery produced seeds by Dr. Kuldeep K. Lal, Director, ICAR – CIBA to the fisherwomen Self Help Groups at Kottaikadu village on 10.01.2023. In addition to that he distributed the above stated revenue of Rs. 3.79 Lakhs generated by these fisherwomen SHGs. The Director appreciated the fisherwomen SHGs for their active involvement in nursery rearing of seabass and wished them to make this village as a seed rearing hub to cater the growing demand of stockable size of seabass fingerlings. Dr. M. Makesh, Head-in-Charge, Fish Culture Division and Dr. M. Kailasam, Principal Scientist participated in the programme. Dr. R. Jayakumar, Principal Scientist, FCD, Dr. T. Bhuvaneswari, Nodal officer SCSP programme and Dr. R. Geetha, Senior Scientist, Social Sciences Division coordinated the programme.