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National fish bank in offing

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: Odisha will have the country’s first National Freshwater Fish Brood Bank at the state-owned fish farm of Kausalyagang on the outskirts of the city.

An MoU in this regard was signed between the Centre and the Odisha government on Monday.

The first phase funding of Rs 22.5 crore will come from the National Fisheries Development Board. The National Bureau of Fish Genetic Research, Lucknow, and the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar, will provide technical knowledge and the board will manage the institute. “Already groundwork has started, and in October, the foundation stone will be laid for the 100-acre project,” said Satyabrata Sahu, commissioner-cum-secretary of the fisheries and animal resources development department.

“Farmers of Odisha and neighbouring states will benefit a lot. Brood stock (genetically superior breeding fish) will be bred here to produce fish seed and fingerlings. But, as the parents will be chosen from 12 rivers across the country, the fish seed and fingerlings will be from better sources,” Sahu said.

J.K. Jena, director of the Lucknow research bureau, said: “The brood bank will work towards genetic upgrade as the traditional breeding is limited to the same stock years after year.”

“After collection through process of ‘selective breeding’ improvement can be made. Already the Jayanti rohu, developed by the central institute, has created a mark where the original brood was sourced from five different places in the country. Now, the specific fish gives 60 per cent more yield than the traditional rohu fish. We will target 1,700 hatcheries across the country, so that they get genetically improved fingerlings,” Jena said.

Production officer in charge of the directorate of fisheries Satish Dash said: “The institute will be ready within one-and-a-half years after laying of the foundation stone.”

Dash also said that once the fish fingerlings were produced, they would be distributed among hatcheries for growth within the eastern region such as Assam and Bengal. “Later, we may go to other regions of the country,” he said.