Bhubaneswaର: “Odisha’s Cage Fish Culture in Hirakud Reservoir is a successful model, and it will soon substantially augment inland fresh water fish production in the State”, said chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra. He said this after assessing its progress both through high level official review, and recent spot visit to the cage culture site in Hirakud reservoir.

During this review he interacted with the fishermen, fish entrepreneurs, and field level officials of the department of fishery and animal resources development.

While appreciating the progress made so far in fish breeding activities, Mahapatra directed concerned departments to operationalise the common facility centre and testing laboratory before mass harvesting. The department was asked to expedite fixing of fish landing floating jetty in a time bound manner. Mahapatra also assured that government would provide necessary infrastructural support for promotion of fishing activities in the reservoir. Inland Fisheries Research laboratory would be made functional for surveillance of aqua- health, and environmental impact assessment. It would also help the fish farmers in testing health of the fishes being grown in the cages.
Further, the chief secretary directed to limit the cage aquaculture maximum up to 1% surface area of the reservoir.

Deputy director fisheries, Biraja Prakash Dwibedi appraised that so far 32 cage aquaculture zones encompassing 625 sub-zones were identified well within the limits of national guidelines. Out of this 101 subzones were allotted to the local entrepreneurs through invitation of the expression of interest (EoI). So far 71 entrepreneurs started their field operations after signing MoU with the department. Cage installation was complete in 30 sub-zones. It was decided to mobilize other selected entrepreneurs for completing installation of 180 circular cages over 60 sub-zones and 264 rectangular cages over 11 sub-zones in coming 6 months.
Available data show that Hirakud reservoir has the vast potential for cage-fish culture. It would accommodate 1875 circular cages of 16 mt diameters and 5 mt depth, or 15000 rectangular cages of 4x6x4 mt dimensions with production potential of more than 45,000 metric ton of fish. Each circular cage can produce around 25 to 30 metric ton of fish. Different fish species could be grown in this cage culture technique. With installation of cages in 101 allotted subzones over coming 6 months, one could expect a bumper production of around 14500 MT of fresh water fish in each harvesting cycle. There could be two harvesting cycles in a year. Chief Secretary Sri Mahapatra said that State Government also initiated the process for providing market-link support to the entrepreneurs.
Collector Sambalpur Dibya Jyoti Parida along with senior officers of concerned departments presented the updates for review by chief secretary.