Odisha plans to come up with cage fish culture in Hirakud reservoir

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has come out with a new policy to promote cage fish culture in medium and large reservoirs in the state, officials said.

The Fisheries and Animal Resources department of the state government has invited expression of interests (EOI) from interested farmers and entrepreneurs for availing long term lease for 5-years extendable to a maximum of another 5 years in the sub-zones of Hirakud reservoir, an official said.

Utilising a modest fraction (1 per cent) of the surface area, the large and medium reservoirs can contribute to a substantial quantity of fish production in Odisha, the official said.

Cage culture fisheries has a huge potential for increasing the fish production in the state, he said, adding that it is often considered as the future of reservoir fisheries and also promote entrepreneurship in aquaculture and create job opportunities.

“The cages are enclosed spaces to rear fish enclosed on all sides with net walls, except for leaving an opening at the top for feeding and handling the fish stock,” the official said.

The cages are of many shapes like circular, square or rectangular and are equally good from the production point of view and their choice is mainly based on consideration such as fish species to be framed, endurance, cost, availability of materials, convenience in assembling and transporting the components.

In the first phase, cage culture will be promoted in 5 zones and 100 sub-zones of Hirakud reservoir which can be leased out to primary fishery cooperative societies, entrepreneurs or companies, the official said.

Each sub-zone has a cage surface area of 600 square metres and can accommodate a maximum of 24 rectangular cages of 6 m length x 4 m width x 4 m depth dimension or three circular cages of 16 m diameter. In a rectangular cage, around 3,000 kg of fish can be harvested.

Various fish species like katla, rohu, mrigal, amur carp, pangasius, asian seabass/barramundi, pearl spot, butter catfish will be allowed to be cage cultured.

The cage culture guidelines have strict conditions for maintaining water quality, cage maintenance, fish health monitoring.

The state already has vast freshwater resources extending around 6.84 lakh hectares. During 2019-20 Odisha produced around 8.16 lakh metric tonnes of fish.

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