AGRISI, a new information system on aquatic genetic resources of India, has been launched by the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources. AGRISI is a unique platform presently covering 3138 native fish species of India. The system provides information on systematics, biology, distribution, nutrition, nutrition, and other characteristics. AGRISI includes information on museum specimens, and accessions from different NBFGR repositories. These include data on germplasm, cell lines and links to other molecular resources developed under the National Agricultural Bioinformatics Grid such as the Fish Barcode Information System.

The ICAR-NACA School on Aquatic Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance was held at the ICAR National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) from 1-6 March. The school was a collaboration between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and NACA. The school covered:

  • Concepts and principles of epidemiology.
  • Use of epidemiological principles in design and implementation of surveillance programmes.
  • Sampling considerations for surveillance programmes.
  • Population surveys.
  • Estimation of sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests.
  • Questionnaire design.

A Regional Expert Consultation on Genetically Responsible Aquaculture was convened by the ICAR National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources and NACA, from 26-27 February. The immediate objective of the consultation was to discuss mechanisms for establishing quality seed production systems to improve hatchery and on-farm genetic diversity. A long-range objective is to establish networks of registered broodstock holdings. Linked via IT systems, such networks will form a virtual global aquaculture gene pool that can, collectively, sustain high genetic diversity and adaptive capacity, while checking inbreeding depression.

The 79th edition of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease report contains information from eleven governments. The foreword discusses the outcomes of the 17th Meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health, held in Bangkok, 13-14 November 2018.

The ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, India is conducting a School on Aquatic Animal Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance from 1-6 March, 2019. Five seats are available in the school for researchers from NACA member countries (outside of India) on first-come first-served basis. Participants should be nominated by research centres participating in NACA or by member governments. Accommodation, hospitality and meals will be provided for the duration of the training. Travel grants are not available. Please apply / express interest by 13 February 2019.

In this issue:

Current status of freshwater cage aquaculture in India; Fattening of mud crab Scylla serrata in estuarine region of south-eastern West Bengal; Aquaponics - sustainable farming method in the fight against hunger; aquatic invasive apple snails (Pomacea spp.) in Timore-Leste - current status, spread and management in rice fields; NACA Newsletter.

Initial attempts to develop freshwater cage aquaculture in India focussed on air breathing catfish and Indian major carps in the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, with later efforts in several large reservoirs. Cage-based aquaculture in inland waters is currently being promoted by some state governments with a view to enhancing fish production. This article examines the history of cage aquaculture in India and some of the factors to be considered in cage design and site selection.

Live mud crab has a high export value and good overseas demand. Over the past fifteen years exports from India have increased, with the introduction of crab fattening practices. Wild-caught seed are held in pens constructed of bamboo screens for several weeks and fed to increase their body weight and hence value. Fattened crabs are onsold to traders exporters, who may air lift them to Singapore and other regional markets for the live restaurant trade.

Aquaponics is a closed-loop system in which the waste water produced from a tank of fish is used as fertiliser to feed a bed of vegetation. In turn, the plant life filters the water through its roots and the cleaned water is returned to the fish tank for reuse. Aquaponics is a form of integrated food production system in which the wastes from one production compartment are used as inputs for others.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple snails were first introduced into Timor-Leste as food by migrants, although there is no exact information on when this occurred. The first reported damages to rice crops from the snails was around 1985 in the south and west. There is an urgent need for systematic surveys on the areas invaded and the rice crop losses. Synthetic molluscicide formulations are used to control snail populations, along with a variety of non-chemical management interventions.