Owing to immediate need for diversification for increased adoptability and profitability of cage culture, ICAR-CIFRI has studied feasibility of several commercially important indigenous fish species and developed their production technology in ICAR-CIFRI model cages installed in reservoirs.
Successful demonstration and harvest of high value butter catfish, Ompok bimaculatus commonly known as pabda and minor carp Labeo bata locally known as bata was successfully cultured to market size in cages at Maithon reservoir, Jharkhand. Stunted fingerlings of O. bimaculatus (8.05±1.56) were cultured in varying stocking densities (15 to 35Nos.m-3) in cages (4mx4mx2m). Average size of 50-62g was achieved with more than 80% survival in seven months of culture period. Total 150kg of fishes were harvested.
Labeo bata (6.18±1.32g) was cultured in varying densities (50 to 100Nos.m-3) in cages (5mx5mx3m). After 6 months of culture period average weight of 45-52g with survival of more than 85% was achieved and a total 430kg fish was harvested.
Similarly high value, medium carp, Puntius sarana, a herbivore fish commonly known as puti was undertaken in cages in four cages (6m x 4m x4m) at Salia Dam, Ganjam district, Odisha. Advance fingerlings (25±3.6g) were stocked at the rate of 10 Nos.m-3. After 3 months of culture period average weight of 150g and survival rate of more than 90% was achieved. Total 460 kg of fishes were harvested. Cages were devoid of biofouling organisms due to scavenging nature of the fish. Incorporation of sarana with other fish species like pangasius can enhance production efficiency besides controlling biofouling organisms. Owing to high market demand P. sarana can be a candidate fish species for diversification for cage culture in Eastern Indian reservoirs.
Diversification of cage culture with high value species will not only increase adoptability and profitability of cage culture it will also pave way for doubling farmers income through enclosure technology in reservoirs and wetlands of India.