India to grow Tilapia, aquatic chicken, for world market

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, August 18: Tilapia is known to be one of the most productive and internationally traded food fish in the world. The Central government as part of its bid to promote fisheries in the country is promoting production of Tilapia, beginning from Karnataka.

From Israel to Africa, Tilapia fish is being commercially farmed.

The fish is stated to be rich in several minerals and vitamins, driving its global consumption.

“The culture of tilapia has become commercially popular in many parts of the world. The fishery experts have dubbed the tilapia as aquatic chicken due to its quick growth and low maintenance cultivation,” said the Ministry of Science and Technology in a media statement on Thursday.

Tilapia is also dubbed as a global fish.

Incidentally, fisheries experts also claim that skins of Tilapia fish are used for healing purposes of the wild animals.

“Fountainhead Agro Farms Private Limited envisages setting up of a complete production line (from breeding to full fish) in Mudhol (Karnataka). The company aims to produce 500 tons of Tilapia, to be grown from the imported parent broodstock ‘Hermon’ from Nir David Fish Breeding Farm, Israel,” added the ministry.

Hermon is a hybrid of two selected strains of Tilapia, namely Oreochromis Niloticus (Male) and Oreochromis Aureus (Female), and is known for special characteristics such as high growth rate; resistance to low temperature; light (attractive) colour; all hybrid fry progeny of males only, without the conventional system of usage of hormones.

“The company has adopted advanced Israeli technology for land locked locations through closed loop farming for arid zone with seasonal water supply from rivers, which may be replicated throughout India in multiple arid landlocked locations with reasonable water sources,” added the ministry.

The move is likely to give a boost to Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), which aims to double the export earnings to Rs one lakh crore from fisheries sector in the next five years.

The fishery sector is claimed to providing employment to 14.5 million people and sustaining livelihood for 28 million fishermen community of the country.

The scheme targets to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25, at an average annual growth rate of about nine per cent.

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