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All’s fin at work

Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of freshwater and marine resources, both plants and animals, for human ­consumption. Some of the aquatic weeds grown through ­aquaculture yield substances that are used as ­thickeners or ­gelling agents in foods, drugs, and other products.

education Updated: Sep 17, 2013 16:11 IST
In-demand-Since-the-land-to-man-ratio-is-shy-decreasing-and-food-requirement-is-shy-increasing-in-India-more-shy-professionally-trained-aquaculturists-are-required
In-demand-Since-the-land-to-man-ratio-is-shy-decreasing-and-food-requirement-is-shy-increasing-in-India-more-shy-professionally-trained-aquaculturists-are-required

The lowdown

Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of freshwater and marine resources, both plants and animals, for human ­consumption. Some of the aquatic weeds grown through ­aquaculture yield substances that are used as ­thickeners or ­gelling agents in foods, drugs, and other products. Acquaculturists work in ­natural water ­bodies or in ­artificial ponds, lakes or reservoirs. By adopting best management ­practices such as controlling the environment, nutrition, ­breeding and life cycle of the organism, an aquaculturist can improve the quality and productivity of his/her crops. Fish accounts for more than 50% of the annual worldwide ­aquaculture production. India accounts for the world’s second largest inland fish production. The ­leading places/states in India where ­commercial ­aquaculture is practised are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. India is a highly ­populated ­country, so the land-to-man ratio is decreasing and food ­requirement is subsequently increasing. The growth rate in ­aquaculture (more than 6% per annum) is more than that of any other ­food-producing systems. So, the demand for ­professionally trained aquaculturists is high in India

Clockwork
7am: Wake up and get ready for the day
9am: Reach farm
10am: Delegate work to staff/labourer
11am: Check water — its level, degree of contamination/pollution, if at all
11.30am: Monitor the growth of fishes
Noon: Arrange for fish feed
2pm: Quick lunch
3pm: Survey the entire farm and fix problems, if any
5pm: Leave the farm for the day

The ­payoff
Pay varies depending on the scale of your organisation, and is higher than what one can earn from agricultural crop production. A person can earn a minimum profit of Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 80,000 per year from one ­hectare of pond area. If integrated practice is followed, the profit ­margin can ­double. In commercial prawn ­culture, a hatchery of 10 ­million post-larvae capacity can yield profits of Rs. 7 lakh per year

Skills/TRAITS
* A farmer-friendly mindset
* Ability to work in field conditions
* Should be intelligent so as to adopt modern techniques ­available to increase productivity
* Love for water and the sea
* One should enjoy working ­outdoors in all weather conditions
* Practical skills and an enjoyment of manual tasks
* Good problem-solving skills and organisational skills
* The ability to co-ordinate the activities of others

Getting there
Read physics, chemistry and ­biology in Class 12. After that, apply for bachelor of fisheries ­science (BFSc), a professional degree ­programme in any state agricultural university. Work in the corporate/government sectors or go in for higher studies

Institutes and URLs
* Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai;
www.cife.edu.in
* Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar;
www.cifa.in/web
* Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture, Tamil Nadu;
www.rgca.org.in/aboutus.php
* Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies;
www.kufos.ac.in
* Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi;
www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/aboutignou/school/sos/programmes/detail/169/2
* Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, United Kingdom;
www.aqua.stir.ac.uk
* Centre for Research-based Innovation in Aquaculture Technology (Create), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway;
www.ntnu.edu/research/research_excellence/create
* Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research;
www.uib.no/research/resources/research-institutes/norwegian-institute-of-food-fisheries-and-aquaculture-research-nofima

Pros and cons
* Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world, hence sectoral growth is high ­compared to other ­agricultural activities
* You can suffer big ­losses if the fish die due to contamination

Aquaculture has the highest growth rate among other ­food-producing systems. So, the demand for trained aquaculturists is very high in India ----- AK Sahu, principal ­scientist and head of aquaculture ­production and environment division, Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar