Kochi: Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has started supplying high-health black tiger shrimp seeds from its new Multispecies Aquaculture Complex (MAC) at Vallarpadam.
The inaugural sale of the seeds was done by K S Srinivas, Chairman, MPEDA by handing over one lakh of them to Hormis Tharakan, former Director-General of Police, Kerala, who is also a progressive shrimp farmer.
MPEDA, a statutory body under the Union Government’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has developed these seeds with the help of its research wing, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture.
Speaking on the occasion, Srinivas said that lessons from the international market had prompted the MPEDA to promote the production of black tiger shrimp in Kerala. He said black tiger was the dominant cultured shrimp in India till a decade ago. In 2009, the country began experiencing non-availability of disease-free seeds of this species, prompting aquaculture farmers to shift focus to exotic vannamei species, he said.
“The dependence on one species, that too an exotic one, is not sustainable in the long run,” he pointed out. “Figures indicate that major vannamei-producing countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China have that variety of shrimp facing serious disease problems during the past five years. This dwindles their contribution of shrimp in the international shrimp market.”
In order to avoid any such situation in India, MPEDA has decided to encourage and expand the production of black tiger shrimp endemic to South Asia. Production of black tiger can support the shrimp exports much more in the long run, Srinivas added.
The MAC was opened on December 8 last year to facilitate production of safe seafood from disease-free breeds. Featuring a hatchery for black tiger shrimp and six nurseries, the state-of-the-art facility was inaugurated by Suresh Prabhu, Union Commerce and Industry Minister.