Aquaculture is becoming one of the fastest growing employment sectors in Kerala. To start fish farming, all you need is a pond and a strong will; the Fisheries Department will come to you with all needed help.
One of the popular fish varieties in farming is ‘GIFT' (Genetically Improved and Farmed Tilapia (GIFT)). It is known as the ‘aqua chicken’ of 21st century.
This fish is a rich source of protein, but contains less carbohydrate, which is why it is a favorite among foreigners. In India, breeding and popularizing of GIFT fish is headed by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture at Vijayawada along with technical cooperation from World Fish Centre in Malaysia.
GIFT is produced from the eggs collected from Nile Tilapia fish, which have high immunity. The fishlings are provided hormone feed so that the entire batch is turned into male fish. While producing GIFT fish, fast growth and better survival are ensured using special technology. 25-days-old male fishlings are grown in ordinary ponds. Within 10 months, they weigh about one kilogram.
Normally, Tilapia breed every 28 days, so its maximum weight will be limited to 200 grams. As the female fish use up a lot of energy in the reproduction process, they are completely eliminated in GIFT farming. Presently, the farmer gets up to Rs 400 for one kg GIFT fish.
The government grants permission for GIFT farming in ponds that have a minimum area of 50 cents. They are grown providing protein rich artificial feed. As part of introducing modern aquaculture of fisheries department, many farmers in Wayanad farm GIFT fish. It is also a popular fish in the market.
(Photographs provided by Ramesh Kumar Vellamunda)
For more details, contact Wayanad Fisheries office.
Contact number: 0493 6255214