The Coastal Aquaculture Authority, Chennai has issued a licence to Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) to set up a hatchery for producing vannamei shrimp seeds.

The first of its kind hatchery in the state will start functioning as Nauplius Rearing Centre at the initial stage, which has a capacity of producing two million seeds of white leg shrimp at the Fisheries Research Station at Puthuvypeen.

KUFOS Vice-Chancellor B Madhusoodana Kurup said that vannamei shrimp farming would be more popular among farmers with the setting up of hatchery thereby boosting shrimp exports from Kerala.

The decision to set up the hatchery was taken by KUFOS following the demand from fish farming community for easy availability of seeds during a state-wide training programme on vannamei culture.

The pilot farming of vannamei shrimp carried out by KUFOS had also turned out to be a huge success, as it led to the production of 5.5 to 6 tonnes from one hectare.

The huge potential of available resources in the state, especially the Pokkali fields, is very much suitable to the farming of this exotic shrimp variety Litonpeneus vannamei, the most sought variety in the global market, he said.

Seafood sector in the country registered a significant increase in vannamei shrimp production in the past five years from 50,000 tonnes in 2009 to more than 3 lakh tonnes in 2014. More than 60 per cent of the production comes from Andhra Pradesh, followed by Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.