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Cage culture in Indian reservoirs: Present status and prospects Cage culture is an emerging technology, through which fishes are reared from fry to fingerling, fingerling to marketable size while captive in an enclosed space that maintains the free exchange of water with the surrounding water body. A cage is enclosed on all sides with mesh netting made from synthetic material that can resist decomposition in water for a prolonged period of time.

he growing and production of farmed aquatic organisms in caged enclosures has been a relatively recent aquacultural innovation. The cage aquaculture sector has grown very rapidly during the past two decades and is presently undergoing rapid changes in response to pressures from globalization and growing demand for aquatic products in both developing and developed countries.

Potential for reservoirs

Reservoirs, or man-made lakes are huge water bodies that are created primarily for irrigation, power generation and other water resource development purposes. India has 19, 370 reservoirs spread over 16 states and this is expected to increase due to the execution of various water projects in the country. The reservoirs of India have a combined surface area of 3.25 million hectares, mostly in the tropical zone, which makes them the country’s most important inland water resource, with huge untapped potential. Cage culture is an alternative to inland pond culture, whereby existing water resources are used to increase fish production, and the fish are enclosed in a cage allowing the water to pass freely between the fish. The young fish and other aquatic species are kept, fed and grown to marketable size in these cages, which are made of high-density polyethylene. Now cage fish farming started in the reservoirs of states like Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Odessa, Karnataka, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Bihar, Srinagar (J&K), Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, as well as Telangana, to name but a few.

Present status

In India cage culture in inland water bodies was initiated for the first time in air breathing fishes in swamps, for raising major carps in running water in Jamuna and Ganga at Allahabad and for raising carps, snakeheads and tilapia in lentic water bodies of Karnataka. Thereafter, the cages have been used for rearing fry in many reservoirs and floodplain wetlands to produce advanced fingerlings for stocking main water bodies. The Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), Barrackpore, Kolkata has taken lead role in popularising fish rearing in net cages in freshwaters especially in reservoirs as well as wetlands in the country. 46 | March | April 2016 - International Aquafeed

Mar | Apr 2016 - International Aquafeed