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Kochi, Jan. 11

INDIA is poised for a big leap in mussel production as it is currently growing at the rate of 20-30 per cent, according to Dr M.J. Modayil, Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).

The country, he said at present produces more than 3,000 tonnes of farmed mussels and oysters every year, which is expected to cross 10,000 tonnes in the next two years. As more and more maritime states adopt bivalve farming, India appears set for a further increase in production, he added.

Delivering the presidential address at the Winter School on Recent Advances in mussel and edible oyster farming organised at the CMFRI here on Tuesday, he pointed out that oysters, mussels and calms were considered as gourmet food globally because of its high content of proteins.

CMFRI has been able to develop several eco-friendly technologies for the farming of edible oysters, clams and mussels to coastal fishers through setting up of multi locational demonstration farms. The capital investment cost in mussel farming is reduced with the development of semi-automatic mussel seeder, making the technology more farmer-friendly, he said.

The global aquaculture production of farmed fin fishes and shell fishes had reached an all time high of 39.79 mt worth $53,798 million in 2004. Of this, marine molluscs contribute 11.2 mt (28.1 per cent) in which Asian countries contributed a lion's share (91 per cent).

Mr K.K. Appukuttan, Principal Scientist and Head of Molluscan Fisheries Division, CMFRI said ICAR is funding the 21-day Winter School which will be conducted by a group of expert scientists and also include extensive hands-on sessions .

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 12, 2005)
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