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General
  • Fish farming is the world’s fastest growing sector of agricultural business. Consumer demand for fish products is increasing. At the same time, wild fish stocks are rapidly declining, mainly because of over - fishing. Aquaculture contributes more than 16 million tonnes of fish and shellfish annually to the world food supply.
  • Biotechnology is used in several different ways in aquaculture. Researchers use transgenics to introduce desirable genetic traits into the fish, thereby creating hardier stock. Transgenics involves the transfer of genes from one species into another species, in this case, fish.

Technology

  • There are two main techniques which researchers use to transfer genetic material in fish. One is called microinjection, in which the genetic material is injected into newly fertilized fish eggs. However, this method is time consuming, so researchers may prefer to use electroporation. This involves transferring the genetic material, or DNA, into fish embryos through the use of an electrical current.
  • Transgenic technology provides a means by which such a quantum leap in production is possible. The identification, isolation and reconstruction of genes responsible for desirable traits, and their transfer to broodstock, offer powerful methods of genetic/phenotypic improvement that would be difficult, if not impossible to achieve using traditional selection and breeding techniques.

Project

  • A project was undertaken on enhancing livelihood of SC/ST people in Orissa and Tamil Nadu by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai for introducing various aquaculture enterprises to 250 participants in backyard ornamental fish culture and carp seed production.

  • A project on utilization of integrated marine living resources by SC youth from Tuticorin region of Tamil Nadu was undertaken by College of Fisheries, Tuticorin. Lobster fattening and crab culture techniques were standardized and demonstrated to the beneficiaries, who have grown lobsters in cages for about 4 months and produced 250-350gms size for marketing.

Market

  • The Indian inland aquaculture sector in general, is growing at an annual rate of 5.8% and currently produces around 1.6 million tonnes of fish, shellfish and molluscs from tanks and ponds, reservoirs, brackish waters, rivers and canals. In India, the role of fish in the diet is most important in the east and south of India. Correspondingly, the states of eastern India, covered by the project account for more than half the inland fish production of the top ten states. West Bengal alone produces c.38% of the total production.

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