|Giant freshwater prawn seeds distributed among Rangjuli farmers|
GOALPARA, Oct 28 - Prawn farming is gradually undergoing rapid expansion with the development of various modern practices for increasing fish production in the India. Two species of prawn especially the Malaysian or giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenberrgii) commonly known as scampi and the riverine prawn M. malcolmsonii are usually cultured through modern techniques in the country.
Growth of scampi in Madang village under Rangjuli Development Block of Goalpara district after 60 days. – Photo: Goalpara Correspondent
Keeping in view the great potential for prawn farming, the District Fishery Development Office (DFDO), Goalpara organised a demonstration activity on freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenberrgii commonly known as scampi under a World Bank-sponsored scheme under APART in around 10 hectares of fresh water tank recently. The DFDO in order to tap the vast potential for increasing aquaculture production, has taken up a slew of initiatives for overcoming constraints for modernisation of aquaculture by providing training for improving skilled manpower, knowledge on profitability and on production and management techniques for planned aquaculture development and to usher in a blue revolution in the district.
Prawn and fish are vital sources of protein for a balanced diet and prawn farming in the district will lead to increased dynamism in the local economy and also provide an important source of income and livelihood for the fish farmers during this pandemic period.
Scampi is widely distributed in South-east Asia and found in most river systems in India. It is known for its high price, large size, rapid growth, good taste and export value but due to absence of its seeds, its culture is not widely practiced by farmers in Assam, but it is now rising due to its high export potential and development of markets.
Talking to this correspondent, the District Fishery Development Officer Dr Anupam Sharma said that under the ongoing project intervention, 66,990 disease-free juveniles weighing around 5 gm each were airlifted from a certified hatchery of Kolkata in August and ceremonially distributed among all fish farmers by Deepak Rabha, MLA of Dudhnoi LAC. Later, these farmers were also provided with 42% quality protein diet of 80 kg each for the feed. Sharma also informed that the farmers have adopted an innovative way of providing shade and shelter to the stocked freshwater prawns by providing banana tree leaves in the pond covering 2-3% of the pond surface and plastic sheet (9×9 sq feet) for feeding.
This semi-intensive fish farming has been undertaken by the Department of Fisheries, Goalpara in close technical collaboration with the World Fish Centre, Malayasia and College of Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University, Raha at Deoshila Matsya Banijya Got and Tripakhik Meen Palon Banijya Got (Farmer’s Producer Group) comprising 32 participating farmers in Madang village under Rangjuli Development Block. Sharma hoped that with the water temperature remaining more than 20°C for the next few months, the challenge would be to achieve a survival rate of more than 70% of the stocked scampi so as to gain a final average size of 50 g by the end of December, 2020 through which the farmers are expected to achieve a higher return. The farmers under both the FPGs are expected to continue with practice in the subsequent years through the formation of Farmer’s Producer Organisation to take up the activity for business. He also stated that several non-beneficiaries, especially some migrated tribal labours of the targeted area, have also been trained on instituitional funding to carry out scampi culture to boost their confidence for self-employment activities by the departmental officials during this Covid pandemic.