Muttukadu Experimental Station (MES)
Experimental field station of ICAR-CIBA is located at outskirts of Chennai in Muttukadu, 26 km south from its headquarters in East Coast Road (ECR) connecting Chennai and Pondicherry. The centre consists of about 120 acres of land and backwaters. This field station was established in 1987 as one of the state of the art brackish water aquaculture research facilities in India. The campus of Muttukkadu experimental station (MES), is ideally located along the banks of the Muttukadu backwaters and beach front of Bay of Bengal. The freshwater Buckingham canal from Chennai city is joining Bay of Bengal at Muttukadu and forming an estuarine ecosystem there, which act as a breeding and nursery ground for many aquatic species.
As CIBA’s one of the priority areas of research & development is diversification of species for the development of sustainable brackishwater aquaculture in the country, in early 90’s itself, CIBA has initiated work on the broodstock development, induced breeding and hatchery seed production and farming technologies of important shellfishes and fifishes. The centre is instrumental in developing farmer-friendly, cost effective technologies and catering to the stakeholders of the country. Breeding of Asian seabass, milk fish, brackishwater ornamental fishes, development of indigenous and cost effective feed for all the candidate species of brackishwater aquaculture, seed production of mud crab, biofloc based shrimp farming technology etc. are among the successful technologies developed in the centre. MES is equipped with three state of the art hatcheries (multi species finfish hatchery, Penaeus indicus (Indian white shrimp) hatchery and mud crab hatchery (Scylla serrata), a pilot scale research feed mill, wet labs for conducting experiments, well equipped laboratories, experimental pods for shrimp, fish and crab. The multispecies finfish hatchery involved in captive breeding and larval rearing of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), Milk fish (Chanos chanos), Red snapper (Lutjanus argentimaculatus) Pearl spot (Etroplus suratensis), Silver moony (Monodactylus argenteus), Grey mullet (Mugil cephalus), Spotted scat (Scatophagus argus) etc. The fish seeds produced are regularly supplied to the brackishwater farmers all over the country.
The shrimp hatchery at MES is of a capacity of 10 million PL per annum. The centre is having live feed culture facilities with microalgal culture and isolation lab, artemia, zooplankton and polycheate production units. Soil and water lab. Various laboratories functioning in the centre are animal health laboratory, soil and water laboratory, finfish and shellfish physiology laboratory, feed biotechnology laboratory etc. Moreover there are assorted sets of wetlabs with recirculating and flow-through systems for conducting experiments with finfish and shellfish in controlled conditions. A sate of art pilot-scale feed-mill is there in the centre with the capacity to produce formulated feeds for finfish and shellfish for all life stages. Trainees Accommodation Facilty and Farmers Facilitationn Centre are available in the centre for assisting farmers and trainees. There are about 24 experimental ponds in the centre with varying sizes from 0.05 hactare to 0.1 hactare. This includes lined and earthen ponds. These experimental ponds were used to conduct farming trials on the products and technologies developed by ICAR-CIBA.