Kerala’s aquaculture farms are witnessing a positive comeback of the production of black tiger shrimps after over a decade, which can further boost the overall export of shrimps from the country. The black tiger shrimp is a species endemic to southeast Asia and was described by Greenpeace in 2010 as ‘commonly sold in supermarkets around the world and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries’.
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), that functions under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, had launched a project earlier this year to supply disease-free variety of black tiger shrimp seeds to farmers from its new nine-acre multispecies aquaculture complex (MAC) at Vallarpadam near Kochi. Since then, a mass sale of the seeds and initial feedback from the farmers indicate that the project has taken off well.
“We knew that increased production of the black tiger variety can boost India’s shrimp exports in the long run. We are seeing the early signs of it happening. Recently, I visited some of the aquaculture farms to understand the field performance of the seeds from our facility. Our seeds are doing very well. The farmers’ comments are encouraging,” said KS Srinivas, chairman of MPEDA, in a statement.
The MAC complex of the MPEDA, inaugurated in December last year and built at a cost of Rs 7.26 crore, has a hatchery that can produce 20 million black tiger shrimp seeds a year. There are also nurseries for four varieties of fin fish at the complex.
Former Kerala DGP Hormis Tharakan, a shrimp farmer post-retirement, said the seeds have shown good performance during the three months of culture period. “They gained an average weight of 38 grams, thanks to the quality. I got 260 kg of shrimp in the 90 days from an area of 50 per cent by stocking 10,000 seeds. Currently, we are rearing another 90,000 seeds. This is in happy contrast to my facing a continuous crop loss for the last three years,” he remarked.