MPEDA Launches AQF Phase 4 to Boost Shrimp Production, Exports
Kochi: The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is poised to expand its Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) for imported Pacific White Shrimp (L. vannamei) in a move expected to increase shrimp farming production in the country by up to 3 to 3.5 lakh metric tonnes per annum and generate higher revenues from seafood exports.
In this connection, the foundation stone for the Phase 4 of the AQF was laid by Tarun Shridhar, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Government of India, at Neelangarai in Chennai. The AQF has been set up by RGCA (Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture), the Research & Development wing of MPEDA.
Dr. K Gopal, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Government of Tamil Nadu and Dr. A Jayathilak IAS, Chairman, MPEDA, and President, RGCA, were present at the function.
The latest phase of AQF which aims to increase the production of Vannamei shrimp by 3.5 lakh tonnes will have six cubicles, three receiving stations and a germ-free packing station. As many as 1,23,750 Vannamei shrimp having reproductive capacity can be quarantined and sent to hatcheries from here. Vannamei shrimp is in much demand in the US and Europe.
Tarun Shridhar said at the function that more funds have been allotted to AQF as part of the efforts to implement the ‘blue revolution.’ Assistance will be extended to the states of Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Odisha to carry out Vannamei farming, he said.
AQF was established at Neelangarai in 2009. According to Jayathilak, 11 lakh Vannamei hatchlings have been grown at the facility so far. The fourth phase will strengthen the efforts to boost the marine industry as well as exports, he said.
“It is hoped that the value of seafood exports from the country would break the record of six billion dollars. The quantity of exported seafood items is expected to touch 1.27 million tonnes. With the completion of the latest phase of AQF development, the value of exports would be over 10 billion dollars,” said Jayathilak.