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2014 GAP Report® – Aquaculture – The Blue Revolution
FISH FOR INDIA’S FUTURE
Aquaculture is the process of breeding, rearing and harvesting plants and animals in water environments. Many types of fish and seafood are raised — or “farmed” — in this manner. Freshwater aquaculture primarily takes place in natural or manmade ponds while marine aquaculture takes place in enclosures in oceans, on the seafloor and sometimes in simulated marine water environments on land.
In India, aquaculture production has increased tenfold since 1980 (Figure 19). It has enabled inland and coastal communities to reap economic potential from previously unused and underutilized land and water resources, creating multiple socioeconomic benefits — elevated employment levels, increased incomes and substantial export and foreign exchange earnings.135 Freshwater breeds include carp, catia, rohu, magu, freshwater prawn, freshwater pearl culture and ornamental fish. Brackish water is primarily used for shrimp production.136
In the 1980s, during the early years of the industry’s development, coastal production dominated. But now inland fisheries dominate, accounting for 85 percent of production. Total global market share is now more than 10 percent, which ranks India near the top for national aquaculture production.137 Since fish and seafood businesses have created multiple positive benefits to the country’s economy and food security, India will strive to increase its position in the market and will continue to be a leading supplier in the years ahead.
Figure 19: Reported Aquaculture Production in India, 1980–2012
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IMPROVE FISH SUPPLY
India’s government has identified catfish farming as a national priority and emphasizes diversification of practices in order to match demand with supply. In particular, new investments are stimulating further increases in development of aquaculture industries and capabilities.
The introduction of insulated fish trucks, for example, enables the transport of iced fish over longer distances, sometimes more than two thousand kilometers.138 This technology allows for a bigger supply and distribution network in order to meet growing demand, as well as to minimize wasted product. Overall, the push is to develop technology that streamlines the post-harvest processing of aquaculture products. Because aquaculture products are extremely perishable after harvest, technology is desperately needed to keep products safe and fresh until they reach markets.
Omnivore Partners is a venture capital fund in India investing in early stage agriculture and food technology companies. The goal is to target investment towards innovations that increase agricultural sustainability, modernize agribusiness supply chains, and promote farm-sourced food products. Omnivore Partners has invested in Eruvaka Technologies, a company that has created technology for fish-farming diagnostics. These are floating sensors, mobile connections for automation, and other electronic decision tools that analyze data to help aquaculture producers minimize loss and maximize safety. Farmers purchase these sensors and are connected to their products 24/7 through a smartphone app. The patented ‘Floating Sensor Buoy’ is placed in a pond and monitors aquatic farm products with automated equipment including aerators and feeders. Farmers are able to measure and manage their ponds more efficiently due to the sensors’ constant feedback.
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Aquaculture — The Blue Revolution