NACA's newly appointed Director General, Dr. Eduardo Leano, along with staff, paid a courtesy call to Mr. Bancha Sukkaew, the Director General of the Department of Fisheries (DOF), Thailand, and directors of DOF's divisions. Discussions centered on ongoing projects between NACA and DOF and explored opportunities for collaboration both in Thailand and the wider region. Mr. Sukkaew emphasized the need to improve food security in the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of cooperation in information sharing and R&D to enhance productivity and reduce costs. Thailand is currently participating in a NACA project on Knowledge brokering for nature-based solutions in aquaculture transformation in Asia-Pacific. The Thai team is identifying innovations and nature-based solutions in the aquaculture industry, as a contribution to the regional Aquaculture Innovation and Investment Hub, presently in development.

In this issue:

  • Scientific aquaculture to promote better livelihoods for Scheduled Caste farmers.
  • Rainbow trout in Jammu and Kashmir: Present status and strategies for expansion.
  • Community participation in marine ornamental aquaculture: An integral approach on livelihood empowerment of islander women and conservation of reef ecosystems at the Lakshadweep Islands, India.
  • Training programmes organised by West Bengal Fisheries Department in South 24 Parganas in the beginning of 2024.
  • Exploring the possibility of captive production of a near threatened catfish, Rita chrysea for Indian aquaculture.
  • NACA Newsletter.

Rita chrysea, a member of the Bagridae family, is a medium-sized freshwater catfish predominantly inhabiting the Mahanadi River system, coursing through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha in India. It has been classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Researchers at ICAR-CIFA, Bhubaneswar, have achieved successful breeding and rearing of R. chrysea in an intiative that aims to to popularise the species through training programs for farmers. This article describes methodologies to induce spawning and rear the larvae of R. chrysea and its performance in captivity, potentially paving the way for its adoption as a mainstream aquaculture species. Furthermore, the insights provided in this article may contribute to ensuring the captive breeding and rearing of two other species, R. pavimentata and R. rita, in the future. These species, belonging to the same genus, dominate Indian river systems.

Fisheries and aquaculture are crucial sources and contributors of nutrient-rich food, income, and livelihoods for many people in West Bengal and across India, creating valuable rural employment opportunities and fostering integrated rural development. Efforts are being made by the Fisheries Department to disseminate scientific knowledge about improved techniques of fish culture to fish farmers (progressive farmers, small and marginal farmers) by imparting hands-on training to them. The aim is to increase fish production through various means like bringing more water bodies under scientific fish culture and ensuring access to nutritionally balanced fish feed and high-quality fry and fingerling-stage fish for fish farmers. Training serves as an important mechanism for the transfer of technology and improving human skills regarding the developmental process This article describes recent short-term training programmes by the West Bengal Department of Fisheries for fish farmers that were  organised in almost all districts of the state, including South 24 Parganas. 

Promoting and encouraging community participation in marine ornamental aquaculture presents an alternative approach to enhancing the economic status of marginalised individuals, particularly women, in the Lakshadweep islands. Additionally, it aids in curbing the wild capture of marine ornamental organisms, thereby relieving pressure on natural resources. The article examines the strategy of community-based marine ornamental aquaculture and its significance in bolstering the economy of islanders, particularly women, in the Lakshadweep Sea. It seeks to investigate effective approaches to promote the sustainability of the coral reef ecosystem in the region. High-value marine ornamental organisms, such as fishes and shrimps, are cultivated in community aquaculture units using simplified technology. These organisms are supplied to aquarists and hobbyists, thus supplementing the income of local women islanders.

Jammu and Kashmir, often referred to as “heaven on Earth,” owes its distinct soil and vegetation to its unique climate. With abundant green forests and high-altitude terrain, it boasts valuable natural resources such as Himalayan glaciers and rivers. Rainbow trout is a promising cultivable fish species in cold water and holds significant potential for expansion. As a high-value commodity with relatively low production volume, trout offers opportunities for both domestic consumption and foreign export. However, the development and scaling of trout farming in the region has not yet been realised on a large scale. This article documents the history of trout fisheries in the region, describes the present status of trout farming infrastructure, and provides strategies to expand the industry. 

The Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture uses funds from the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan project to provide support such as fish seed, feed, lime, and manure to Scheduled Caste farmers. The goal is to enable them to utilise untapped water resources for fish production. This support in aquaculture inputs has resulted in increased fish production, heightened income, the creation of employment opportunities, the development of skilled labourers, and made a significant contribution to the national income. Marginal fish farmers have consistently generated revenue through these efforts. They have also directly provided poor communities with essential nutrients through fish consumption, combating hunger. This article describes the methodology and outcomes of the project Scientists-Farmers Interface and Aquaculture Input Support to SC Farmers of Sonarpur C.D. Block.

This event, held jointly via Zoom or in person at FAO Headquarters in Rome, will bring together leading experts to delve into the topic of fish vaccination and new developments regarding shrimp vaccination as a vital biosecurity strategy. Current knowledge will be reviewed, examining obstacles, and uncovering opportunities for vaccine development. Bridging theory with actionable practice, the seminar aims to foster informed decision-making, discussing the potential of vaccination and addressing associated challenges. Building upon the success of the Tilapia Health webinar held in December 2021 and Tilapia health: quo vadis, this conference will be a continuation of impactful discussions, promising a dynamic and enriching experience for all participants.

Fish-Vet+ Dialogue II: One Health and Biosecurity will be held jointly via Zoom and in person at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The dialogue provides a neutral ground for continued discussions on the pressing challenges facing aquatic food systems, particularly vulnerability to diseases in the absence of robust biosecurity measures.

The hybrid event aims to foster stronger networking among key stakeholders across the aquaculture value and supply chain, including governance authorities, the private sector and academia.

This manual covers everything from grass carp's natural distribution and reproductive behaviours to its biology and anatomy. This manual also explores diseases that can affect grass carp and emphasises the crucial connection between animal welfare and stress in fish. With a detailed discussion on cultivation systems, this manual includes pond structures and fish farming techniques in both polyculture and monoculture. It provides practical insights into important aspects such as water quality monitoring, feeding, nutrition, health checks and behaviour assessments at every stage of grass carp farming – from broodstock management to pre-slaughter and slaughter processes. The emphasis is on responsible harvesting techniques, transportation considerations and humane slaughter methods. This manual offers a comprehensive guide for both novice and experienced fish farmers, and enthusiasts interested in cultivating grass carp sustainably and ensuring optimal animal welfare.