India's first export-oriented ornamental fish park recently started its operation near Kochi on a 10 acre land, which has been conceived to transform the country's role in aqua culture industry.
Despite being blessed with rich resources of abundant water and all essential parameters for breeding and rearing of tropical freshwater ornamental fishes, India has failed to get a foothold in market for exports.
India has a mere share of .01 percent in the market for exports of ornamental fishes, which is estimated to be worth around six billion dollars.
The Kerala Government came up with a unique project called 'Aqua Technology Park', which incorporated various stakeholders on a public-private partnership and also involved hundreds of locals in setting up homestead aquariums for earning their livelihood.
The government has also formed a company Kerala Aqua Ventures International Ltd. (KAVIL) with public-private participation to establish this park, which would provide the stakeholders a unique opportunity for investment and trade in the sector.
The first of its kind concept in India to popularise aqua culture industry, the project would not only generate employment, but would also help in maintaining a socio economic status of the local people in the town.
"From each home in the beginning, we hope to produce fishes that fetch them at least Rs 7000 to 7500 per month, that will be an additional income to each family in the rural people. So, it will become an economic activity to many youth by starting this satellite farms," said Gopalakrishnan, Managing Director of Kerala Aqua Ventures International Limited.
Authorities said that while the main units will have common facilities such as water, electricity, laboratory and quarantine facilities, the satellite farms will be the major production centres, where much of the ornamental fish will be reared and propagated.
At present Indian ornamental fishes are exported to USA, Europe, Russia and Japan and the company has already procured orders from France, Italy, Korea and Hong Kong.
With this endeavour, the authorities hope to capture a 10 percent share in the world market in a period of seven to eight years.