All over the world, the demand for seafood has increased as people started taking seafood as a part of regular diet due to its beneficial effect to fight against cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other major illnesses. On the other hand, supply of seafood from oceans is almost stable or declining. Therfore, aquaculture, which involves breeding, rearing and harvesting of aquatic species has been recognised as the most competent option to meet the growing demand for seafood. At present, aquaculture sector contributes around 50 per cent of all seafood produced for human consumption, and that contribution will continue to increase.
Although aquaculture practised in all kinds of water resources (freshwater, brackishwater and seawater), the pressure on freshwater resources due to multi-user demands and climate change related impacts constraint the future expansion, and, therefore, the future aquaculture development is expected to occur mostly in brackishwater. Further, aquaculture in brackishwater helps in minimising the carbon footprint of fish production in freshwater water. In India excluding the 1.2 million hectares of the coastal land area identified suitable for pond based brackishwater farming, about 3.9 million ha of open brackishwaters comprises estuaries, creeks, backwaters, and lagoons remain unutilized for fish production. Furthermore, brackishwater environments are rich in biodiversity and more productive ecosystems than the open marine waters, which are challenging to manoeuvre. Brackishwater resources are, therefore, perceived as ideal for aquaculture in the future. As an added advantage, high tolerance of brackishwater flora and fauna to the extremes of the water quality make them more appropriate for farming under controlled conditions. In addition to the food production, coastal aquaculture can generate substantial employment opportunities in diversified fields across coastal India.
India emerged as a fastest growing major economy in the world and the second largest producer of farmed fish and shellfish. Frozen shrimp produced from brackishwater sector continued to be the major valued item accounting for a share of 70% of the total export earnings (about US$ 6.5 billion). After playing a crucial role in the introduction of exotic P. vannamei to Indian shrimp farming, ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA) realizes the risk of complete dependence of the sector entirely on imported broodstock. As a futuristic alternate strategy, CIBA has identified native Indian white shrimp, P. indicus as native candidate species for research in the direction of stock improvement through selective breeding. Farming of seabass in customized openwater cages, and other fishes such as milkfish, hilsa, mullet and pearlspot gained a notable impetus and given confidence to the coastal farmers. CIBA as a nodal agency in brackishwater aquaculture development, not only developing technology for producing seeds of candidate species but also engaged in issues related to the environment, cost-effective feed production, farm and hatchery construction, disease diagnosis, monitoring and advocating remedies etc.. Besides production-oriented research, CIBA also researches to preserve the valuable natural resources like land, water and energy, to have more sustainable, eco- friendly and socio-economically viable brackishwater aquaculture in this country.
Out of total 3.9 million ha of the estuarine area estimated, 1.2 million hectares of coastal saline lands have been identified to be potentially suitable for brackish water farming. Also, about 9 million hectares of salt-affected inland soils in the hot semi-arid and arid ecoregion of northern plains and central highlands in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat are found suitable. Estimates show that only 11% of the potential coastal area available is utilized for farming. The unutilized resource can be made highly productive for fish farming by proper planning and implementation of technological advancements.
Established in the year 1987, ICAR-CIBA headquartered at Chennai has its experimental station at Muttukkadu, research centres at West Bengal and Gujarat.
The headquarters with the administrative office-cum-laboratory is located on the banks of Adyar river creek in MRC Nagar, Chennai, since 2001. The Muttukadu Experimental Station (MES) is located about 30 km south of Chennai on the east coastal highway connecting Puducherry. The Kakdwip Research Centre (KRC) in West Bengal is situated about 100 km south from Kolkata close to the deltaic region called the Sundarban of Hooghly estuarine complex. ICAR-CIBA has inaugurated its Navsari-Gujarat Research Centre (NGRC) in Navsari Agricultural University (NAU) campus, Navsari, Gujarat on 7th June, 2018 to extend the technological support to the aqua farmers in the region
At ICAR-CIBA, we support cutting-edge science and research to develop customized technologies suitable for different agro-climatic conditions that leads to sustainable aquaculture in India and reap its social, economic, and environmental benefits. The institute has been advocating diversification of brackishwater aquaculture with alternative shellfish and finfish species and optimally utilising suitable brackishwater bodies with appropriate rearing systems through stakeholders’ participation. We foster responsible aquaculture that provides safe, sustainable seafood; creates employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; and complements CIBA’s comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive biological resource, ecosystems, and vibrant coastal communities.
The research programs in CIBA are diverse. In the year 2017-18 the institute has handled 12 in-house and 21 externally funded projects. Our research programs are prioritised according to the fixed mandates.
CIBA envisages it role as one of the world’s best scientific research institute in brackishwater aquaculture through the pursuit of excellence in research and innovation that contribute modernization and development of sustainable brackishwater aquaculture in the country.
Our mission is to realize the vision through basic and applied research, and providing technological backstopping suitable for Indian conditions for the development of sustainable brackishwater aquaculture. This would provide much needed food, nutritional security, employment, economic well-being and societal development.