ONE MORE STEP TO SUSTAINABILITY…
Worldwide Nov 21’st is celebrated as world fisheries day. But every year its relevance only increases due to the overexploitation of the marine fishing sector. According to a recent UN study, more than 2/3’rd of the world fisheries have been overfished or more than 1/3’rd are in a state of decline due to loss of
habitats, pollution and global warming. Here arises the importance of aquaculture, to include the cheap protein source in our daily diet.
Amidst the Covid- 19 pandemic, people are more concerned about their health, lifestyle and immunity power. Due to this, common man are buying fishes from local market very reluctantly, fearing the side effects of chemical preservatives and antibiotics used in fish culture and preservation. Why should we go after this if we can produce fish eco-friendly and organically?
Fishes that are grown under following organic standards are known as organically produced fish. Aquaculture in accordance with organic standards from pre-stocking management up to final harvesting is known as organic aquaculture. There should be a management plan that we have to follow in each and every steps of fish farming. Adoption of organic aquaculture requires an interim period i.e. the conversion period. It would vary depending upon the species, method of production, location and local conditions. Generally, for drainable systems where cleaning and disinfection is carried out, the conversion period shall be 6 months. In a hatchery/farm, practicing parallel production (producing both organically and conventionally),the producer shall keep the organically produced and in conversion animals separate and maintain adequate records to show the separation. A buffer zone of at least 10m should be left between farms following organic farming principles and conventional farming.
For stocking, organically certified seeds should be used. When organic seed is not available, the certifying body would prescribe a time limit for use of non organic seeds depending upon the species. The certified organic hatchery should source the initial stock from natural water bodies to raise them as brood stock with organic protocol at least for 3 months before their breeding. They should maintain documents to ensure traceability of brooders and all other inputs for hatching operation.
Synthetic hormone application for artificial propagation is not allowed in organic farming. For disinfection and cleaning activities only approved disinfectant and cleaning agents should be used. The use of antibiotics is strictly prohibited, but probiotics could be used. In case of pond preparation, for elimination of unwanted fishes, sun drying, netting or application of plant derivatives like tea seedcake(Camellia sinensis),mahua oil cake (Bassia latifolia),derris root powder(Linchocarpus sp) and Neervalam(Crotelaria tigilum) are permitted. Use of any synthetic herbicides and pesticides are prohibited.
Use of agriculture lime, dolomite or quick lime is permitted for disinfection and acidity corrections. Fertilization with locally produced manures/nutrients (organic types-farmyard manure, vermicompost etc.) for maintaining good phyto &zooplankton production.Stocking density to be limited so as not to compromise with the animal well being, ecological capacity of the site and species specific physiological need and animal behaviour. Maximum advantage of the natural productivity of the pond should be exploited in order to reduce the dependence on supplementary feed. The natural feeding behaviour of the animal should be explored to meet the nutritional and dietary need of the species for all its life stages. To meet requirements beyond the portion met by the natural productivity, certified organic feed should be provided. Farm made feeds can be used provided that the ingredients are from organic sources. By following all these criteria, we can say that we are producing organic fish. Before that, we should take organic certification from a recognised organic certification agency.
Through perseverance, patience and passion anyone can be a good organic fish farmer. It’s high time that we should deviate our lifestyle in a much organic way, eating healthy and eco-friendly food.
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