The Union government directed Northern states Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments to take steps to tap the potential saline land not suitable for agricultural purposes for promoting aquaculture, local news reported. Fisheries Secretary Abhilaksh Likhi said these four states should focus on adopting shrimp aquaculture in 25 identified districts to generate employment and livelihood.
Over the past year, officials and scientists from the Department of Fisheries and the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture tested thousands of hectares of saline wasteland unfit for crops in 25 districts of these four states, marking out clusters where shrimp aquaculture could be productive, local news reported. Scientists found that the output per hectare was roughly the same in Haryana as the world average at about 6-7 tonnes, making it potentially a major center for shrimp farming.
“The shrimp hubs in these states will be eco-friendly, using technologies such as biofloc and will come up only on unproductive wasteland,” said Sagar Mehra, joint secretary in the Fisheries Department.
Saline land aquaculture in these states is not without challenges and to address them, an awareness campaign will be organized to promote shrimp consumption in the northern part of the country with the help of research body ICAR, State Fisheries Departments and other agencies.
A National Level Committee will also review the existing guidelines for the culture of shrimp in freshwater/inland farms, prepare a roadmap for strengthening the existing facilities at ICAR-CIFE, Rohtak and also prepare strategies for sustainable development of saline aquaculture in the north Indian states.