State wants to give a boost to aquaculture
The Karnataka government has introduced a new quarantine facility at Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru, to reduce fish mortality which occurs due to various diseases infecting ornamental species.
Ornamental fish, including corals and crustaceans, are aquatic animals kept in aquariums.
Shripad Kulkarni, deputy director of the Directorate of Fisheries, said the new facility has been mandated by the central and state governments to introduce quarantine facilities for ornamental fish which are imported.
The quarantine facility will be supervised by the state department of fisheries.
The quarantine facility has been established in a closed building of about 3,000 square feet with good ventilation. The reason behind this set up is to accelerate the growth of aquaculture in the state. The facility has biosecurity boundaries to prevent the entry of unauthorized people.
In the quarantine unit, each tank is equipped with separate hand nets and heaters with a proper aeration system. The area is divided into two units: The pre-quarantine unit and the quarantine unit. In the pre-quarantine unit, glass tanks of 310-litre capacity are placed to handle 30,000 fish for three to four days. The quarantine unit has glass tanks that can house 34,000 fish for 15 to 21 days.
Facilities will be set up to diagnose bacterial and parasitic infections in fish, Kulkarni said.
Most importers and exporters are not equipped with quarantine facilities. Diseased fish are kept with healthy ones. This, in turn, leads to the death of healthy fish.
Shatabdi Ghosh, a resident of Durgapur, West Bengal, said she purchased three fish from a local aquarium which the shopkeeper said were brought from Bengaluru. After a month, one of the fish developed symptoms of a disease, leading another fish to contract it. Ghosh isolated the third fish.
Suraj Kumar Sahoo, manager of Wet Pets Shop, said a few fish die during transportation as they experience stress if too many individuals are packed in a small container. Lack of oxygen is another reason.
He told The Observer that he does not have any quarantine facility to isolate diseased fish. As a result, his fish die. His business suffered a loss during the pandemic as the sales of fish reduced during that time.
The most widely sold variety of fishes are Goldfish, Catfish, Oscar, Carrot fish and Cichlids.