The 5th International Symposium on Cage Aquaculture in Asia took place in November 2015 in Cochin, India.
USSEC Deputy Regional Director - Asia Subcontinent P.E. Vijay Anand and R. Umakanth, USSEC Aquaculture Consultant – India, participated in the symposium as special invitees and knowledge partners.
Dr. S. Ayyappan, director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi opened the symposium, addressing about 300 delegates from India and abroad. He recognized USSEC’s market research and forward strategy for aquaculture and stated that cage farming systems are still in their infancy, so India does not yet have much to showcase to the rest of Asia. He stated, however, that the Indian government is supportive of this sector and urged all stakeholders to speed up implementation so aquaculture production gets further augmented in India.
USSEC was given a key role in the three-day symposium, making lead presentations and participating in strategy discussions. Dr. Anand spoke on “The Indian Aqua Feed Industry and its Support to Cage Farming,” reflecting on the fact that USSEC has played a major role in transforming a significant part of the traditional farming practices into feed-based farming. As a result of this, India has developed the potential to supply 2.8 million tons (MT) of feed of which only 1.54 MT was actually marketed in 2015, relying on 400 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybean meal. He stated that the capability of Indian feed mills to produce good feed is a ready tool for the development of cage culture in India and that USSEC has ready, tested cage technologies that can be adopted. In his presentation, Dr. Anand referenced USSEC’s Low Volume High Density (LVHD) and ocean cage aquaculture technologies (OCAT) technologies that are ready for use. Some effective models were calculated to project additional fish production that can be brought in if cage farming was to be adopted.
Dr. Anand and Mr. Umakanth also took the opportunity to suggest to the Indian government and the stakeholders that India faces some serious constraints in feed and soy such as lack of feed-consuming fish species; weakness in hatchery technology of new species; low fish consumption; lack of cold chain capabilities; and a lack of technology to produce high value species, still a sizeable farming segment that relies on nutritionally poor feeds and farming system diversification such as cage farming. They concluded by saying that the U.S. Soy industry has helped develop aquaculture technologies and worldwide aquaculture strategies that can be offered to developing countries to help transform their industries onto profitable and sustainable models.