ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development


In the Present world, the major problems faced by fishery industries are natural depletion of fishery resources due to unsustainable fishing practices, large scale aquatic pollution due to commercial exploitation of aquatic environment and destruction of the primary breeding environment of aquatic animals such as mangrove forests & coral reefs in many parts of the world. To overcome this problem, intensive aquaculture methods were carried out all over the world which in turn resulted in high levels of antibiotics, PCBs, residues of pesticides and heavy metals causing a great damage to environment especially natural water bodies and human health. Organic Aquaculture could possibly be a solution to increase the fish production in a sustainable manner without disturbing the natural ecosystem. However, in many countries the legal framework for aquaculture is quite under developed and not sufficient to protect the environment against the impact from intense production systems. Most aquatic products are highly perishable and therefore very demanding with respect to quality assurance. To increase the customer trust in aquatic products, it is necessary to provide reliable information on their origin, the method and quality of production. This can be done by following an internationally accepted standard with easily recognizable labels. Credibility of standards and labels has to be built up and maintained by a sound quality system. For Organic Agriculture, USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) presented a definition in 1995: “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony". The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water. Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people. Diminishing fishery harvests, wild fish food-safety issues, environmental concerns, increased fish consumption, and the increasing market share of organic foods have combined to focus attention on “organic aquaculture.” Consumer demand may well drive the organic production of finfish, shellfish, and other aquatic species into the mainstream during the next decade. A small number of “certified” and non-certified organic fish and microalgae products have made it to the retail market place in the developed countries. While the regulatory specifics still need to be addressed, this new organic market niche has significant potential for growth in the future.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development


Aquaculture is defined as the production of aquatic animals and plants under controlled conditions for all or part of their lifecycle. The combination of the environment, equipment, and techniques selected for the farming of an aquatic species is referred to as the aquaculture production or cultural system. Several different types of systems have been developed based on availability of environmental resources and the type of species being raised. Environmental factors that can influence aquacultural system and species selection include salinity of the water (marine, brackish and fresh), seasonal climate, watershed drainage, and tides. The major aquaculture systems are pond culture, cage culture, raceway, recirculating and integrated. Each of these systems has characteristics that may lead to consideration for organic production.

2.2 CONVENTIONAL AQUACULTURE: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES The outlook for aquaculture worldwide is growing. According to FAO statistics, aquaculture’s contribution to global supplies of fish, crustaceans and molluscs continues to grow, increasing from 3.9 percent of total production by weight in 1970 to 27.3 percent in 2000. Aquaculture is growing more rapidly than all other animal food producing sectors. Worldwide, the sector has increased at an average compounded rate of 9.2 percent per year since 1970, compared with only 1.4 percent for capture fisheries and 2.8 percent for terrestrial farmed meat production systems” (FAO, 2001a). Aquacultural activities, like their terrestrial farming counterparts, affect surrounding ecosystems. Despite numerous regulations aimed at ameliorating these effects, environmental impacts currently associated with some operations and practices draw criticism of the industry. Concerns include pollution from solid waste and effluent by-products, pesticide and antibiotic residues, introductions of species to non-native environments, and transmission of disease between individual organisms and to other species. These impacts have been documented across several production systems and types of farmed species (Pillay, 1992). Developments in research and policy are increasingly being focused on resolving these environmental problems. Members of the aquaculture community believe that sustainable and ecologically based management practices can lead to environmentally benign aquacultural operations. Costa-Pierce (2002) envisaged a future where “ecological agriculture research is oriented to the design, development, and monitoring of aquatic farming systems that preserve and enhance the form and functions of the natural and social environments in which they are 3 suited. Aquaculture depends upon inputs from various foods, processing, transportation and other industries, and can produce valuable, uncontaminated wastewaters and fish processing wastes, all of which can be a vital part of


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

an ecological system that can be planned and organized for community-based aquatic foods production – and natural ecosystem rehabilitation, reclamation and enhancement – not degradation.” Additionally, aquaculture may provide some relief to over-fishing pressures for some species by supplying rising consumer demand for these products. Thus, the opportunity exists to create aquacultural systems that are models of environmental stewardship. The development and implementation of organic production practices may lead the way in this effort.

2.3 ORGANIC PRODUCTION IN AQUACULTURE: Defining “organic aquaculture” is very much a work-in-progress and, for many reasons, an endeavor marked by controversy. Members of both the organic and the aquaculture communities disagree on how, or even if, aquatic animal and plant production systems can qualify as “organic” as the term is commonly used. Any potential definition must be a multi-faceted one. “Organic” in the context of food production connotes standards and certification – a verifiable claim for the production process and production practices – as well as more elusive characteristics such as consumer expectation for food quality and safety and general environmental, social, and economic benefits for farmers and for society. The variety of species produced in aquacultural systems and vast differences in cultural requirements for finfish, shellfish, mollusks, and aquatic plants add to the complexity of defining this sector. Some species and some production systems may prove quite difficult to adapt to a traditional “organic” system. Traditional organic farming systems “rely on ecologically based practices, such as cultural and biological pest management, and virtually exclude the use of synthetic chemicals in crop production and prohibit the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock production.” Sustainability, environmental stewardship, and holistic, integrated approaches to production are hallmarks of organic systems. Standards for organic cropping and terrestrial livestock husbandry practices have existed for decades. In recent years, standards have been incorporated into state and national organic rule making and certification requirements. Interpreting practices and standards developed for terrestrial species into practices and standards relevant to aquatic species, both animal and plant, remains a major challenge for organic aquaculture. How can aquatic operations comply with the requirements for an organic system plan, for obtaining acceptable stock, for implementing health care monitoring and management, for maintaining prescribed “living conditions,” for development and acceptance of allowed and prohibited substances lists, for organic feed requirements, for controlled postharvest processing, for nutrient management, and for required animal identification and record-keeping? Many specialists agree that the most immediate deterrent to production of organic animals are the issue of providing organically produced feed, especially for species requiring significant proportions of animal-based


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

protein. Where will it come from? Can wild-caught fish and fish by-products are utilized as organic feed stock for farmed species? Should emphasis is placed on farming low trophic species?

Other points: • Criteria for evaluating the suitability of a production site for an organic aquaculture operation; specifically, how standards will be developed for the site of production to address nutrient concentration/effluent management and water testing parameters, chemical drift, the emergence and transfer of disease, the escape of captive species to the wild, biodiversity, and detrimental impacts on indigenous species • Guidelines to control practices used in aquaculture operations that are consistent with organic principles, especially with regard to chemicals administered to control diseases and parasites, and to accommodating “natural behaviour” and animal welfare in closed systems • Induction of triploidy in fish species • Origin of livestock requirement for aquaculture operations that obtain stock or fry from wild populations; • Status of “wild caught” fish and related by-products; • Conversion requirements for producers wishing to change over to an organic system; • Recordkeeping/traceability elements, and inspection practices pertinent to aquatic species • Harmonization of organic aquaculture standards between countries. Today, organic aquaculture production takes place primarily in Europe, where certified organic salmon, carp, and trout are grown and sold. Certified organic mussels, Tiger shrimp, white shrimp, and tilapia also are cultured in such diverse places as Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, New Zealand, and Israel. Standards and certification procedures are set by just a few certification agencies. Universal acceptance of any standards does not currently exist. To risk investment in this sector, producers require formally recognized standards in order to communicate the advantages of organic aquaculture products to consumers. The key to the continued growth and development of organic aquaculture lies in resolving a number of issues that currently stand in the way of instituting internationally accepted certification standards.


In India there is an ample opportunity to boost organic crop, livestock and fish production to catch the organic food market of the world. The north-eastern region can become a major organic farming of the world. In N-E region of India, particularly the hill States, have already started moving


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

towards organic agriculture. In the eastern region, it is estimated that about 1.8 million ha already existing as organic by default. It is obvious that large quantity of FYM, compost, vermi-compost, feeds, bio pesticides and other organically produced inputs and biomass would be required to compensate for the fertilizers and pesticides. For the sustainability of organic farm, it is important to note that a certified organic farm(s) has to produce most of these inputs in-situ. But that is lacking in the region. With increasing purchasing power and heightened ecological awareness, the demand for organic aquaculture products by major importing countries such as the US and Europe have been on the rise. For India, if the marine shrimp exporter can get 25 per cent of their products labelled as organic, it will fetch an additional Rs 3,000 crore, virtually doubling the present export realisation of Rs 4,800 crore from shrimp. Though aquaculture currently contributes to around 30 per cent of the total shrimp trade of the world, the real future development lies in shrimp farming, especially produced the organic way. Taking the sale of organic salmon as a case in point, its sales in Europe had shot up forty-fold between 1997 and 2000. Further facilitating the export potential, many countries, including the European Union have formulated specific standards and guidelines for organic fish products, distinct from organic farm products. The decision of the US Congress to allow labelling of wild seafood as organic is another such initiative. In India, such initiatives are still lacking. However, on the positive side, making a transition to organic systems, especially in extensive system of shrimp farming would be easy. Also, the technology for production of low-cost organic feeds is available e.g. the shrimp feed, Mahima, developed by CMFRI. Large and comparatively clean and pollution-free water bodies are also available. The natural seed availability for the organic programme is still not in peril. But the institutional support system in the fisheries sector, for research and trade in general should be made capable to tackle the transitional challenges. There is a surging global market waiting for such a product, valued at over $20 billion. Over 90 per cent of this global organic market comes from India's traditional marine export market of US and Europe, and demand for organic products from several of these countries have been growing between 20 to 30 per cent. This represents an interesting combination of product and market diversification, whose rationale is based upon the consumer perceiving value to be added to the product through its differentiated, more natural but controlled production regime. (The Hindu Bussiness Line, 2008).


In marked contrast to the freshwater-dependent terrestrial agricultural production systems, aquaculture (including organic aquaculture) can also be realised within marine and/or brackish


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

water environments. For example, over half (54.7 percent) of total global aquaculture production currently originates from marine or brackish coastal waters (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Major aquaculture species groups by rearing environment in 2001 This includes aquatic plants and molluscs within marine waters (46.6 percent and 44.4 percent total marine production in 1999) and crustaceans (shrimp, crabs) and finfish (mainly salmonids) in brackish water (56.2 percent and 35.7 percent of total brackish water production in 1999 (FAO, 2001). In the case of the total reported certified organic aquaculture products produced in Europe (4 200 - 4 700 tonnes in 2000, 87-93 percent of these were produced in marine and brackish waters (i.e. Atlantic salmon and blue mussels). The use of these hitherto largely untapped vast aquatic resources (over two-thirds of our planet being covered by oceans) is particularly essential in view of the urgent need to conserve our precious fresh water supplies for human consumption and conventional agriculture, including livestock production .In addition to organic fish and mollusc production, the seas hold particular promise for the production of organic aquatic plants for either for direct human consumption or as much needed organic feed inputs for animal husbandry. For the organic aquaculture sector to successfully co-exist with other food production sectors, it will have to successfully source its own organic feed and nutrient resources. For example, a major concern with the organic production of carnivorous fish species such as salmon and trout (over 73 percent of farmed finfish production within developed countries currently being carnivorous finfish species) is the use or not of fish meal and fish oil within organic feeds for these species .In particular, questions revolve around: • Whether a product derived from wild caught animals can be certified. • What the maximum level of fish meal or fish oil is that can be used within certified organic feeds. • The transfer of essential protein and lipid sources from one part of the globe to the other • Concerning the ethics and long term sustainability of producing organic carnivorous fish species.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development








AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION (IFOAM, 2002): Conversion to Organic Aquaculture  Conversion to organic aquaculture is a process of developing farming practices that encourage and maintain a viable and sustainable aquatic ecosystem. The time between the start of organic management and certification of the production is known as the conversion period.  Aquaculture production methods can vary widely according to biology of the organisms, technology used, geographical conditions, ownership structure, time span,etc. These aspects should be considered when the length of conversion is specified. Basic Conditions  Management techniques must be governed by the physiological and ethological needs of the organisms in question. The organisms should be allowed to meet their basic behavioural needs. Management techniques, especially when applied to influence production levels and speed of growth must maintain and protect the good health and welfare of the organisms.  When introducing non-native species, special care must be to avoid permanent disruption to natural ecosystems. Location of Production Units  Location of organic production units maintains the health of the aquatic environment and surrounding aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem. Location of Collecting Areas  Wild, sedentary/sessile organisms in open collecting areas may be certified as organic if they are derived from an unpolluted, stable and sustainable environment. Health and Welfare Management practices achieve a high level of disease resistance and prevention of infections.  All management techniques, especially when influencing production levels and speed of Growth maintains the good health and welfare of the organisms. Living aquatic organisms should be handled as little as possible.  The well being of the organisms is paramount in the choice of treatment for disease or injury. Breeds and Breeding  Breeding strategies and practices in organic aquaculture interfere as little as possible with natural behaviour of the animals. Natural breeding methods are used. Nutrition (Aquaculture)  Organic aquaculture production provides a good quality diet balanced according to the


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

nutritional needs of the organism. Feed is only offered to the organisms in a way that allows natural feeding behaviour, with minimum loss of feed to the environment.  Feed compromises by-products from organic food processing and wild marine feed resources not otherwise suited for human consumption. Harvesting  Harvesting certified organic aquatic organisms from enclosures or collecting areas creates minimum stress to the organisms. The act of collection does not negatively affect natural areas. Transportation of Living Animals  The transportation medium should be appropriate for the species with regards to water quality, including salinity, temperature, oxygen, etc. Transportation distance, duration and frequency should be minimised. Slaughter   Slaughter process minimises the stress and suffering of the organism. Slaughter management and techniques governed by careful consideration of the physiology and ethology of the organisms in question and accepted ethical standards.


In addition to the established IFOAM principles for organic production, the following principles & objectives formulated by the European Union also apply to organic aquaculture: 1. Integration of a healthy and sustainable aquatic farming system with the surrounding environment. 2. Wise use and care of water and water resources 3. Preservation of wild aquatic flora and fauna Environmental objectives The production system must be managed in such a way that the environmental integrity of the surrounding water and land areas and health of both wild and cultured organisms is preserved through:
  

Having the minimum possible effects on local biological processes Preventing escape and predation of cultured organisms Maintaining healthy water conditions


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

 

Using locally derived, sustainable foodstuff. Managing the production so that infectious organisms, parasites, and input factors have minimal impacts on wild organisms in the surrounding environment

Providing for polyculture in the production system in order to close nutrient cycles where possible.

Organic food production objectives

The production of aquaculture products of prime quality, free from artificial ingredients and with minimal contamination from the environment.

 

Production methods that minimise the use of external resources. The prohibition of synthetic inputs such as antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemical additives.

Animal welfare objectives

Promotion of the health and welfare of the cultured organisms by minimising stress, reducing the incidence of disease, and nurturing the vitality of the organisms through meeting their physiological and behavioural needs.

 

Stocking rates should be similar to that found in the wild. Health management must be of high standard.

Social objectives
   

Encouragement of the use of local resources and services. A safe, healthy and sustainable working environment for employees. Acceptance and support of the neighbouring community. The promotion of organic aquaculture to meet consumer needs and to improve existing practices in the aquaculture industry.

3.3 ORGANIC STANDARDS FOR FISH PRODUCTION: India at present do not has a specific guideline for organic fish production and NPOP is formulating a draft policy in this respect. However, the organic standards for aquaculture discussed herein are that prescribed by the European Union.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

Setting up the production system

1) There must be a management plan and production description available, detailing the entire production system and how each of the requirements in the standards are complied with for the production unit. 2) An operating record must always be kept documenting systematic overview of the production system to the certifying body on request. 3) The following information must be recorded at intervals prescribed by the certifying body, as applicable, for every production unit:

Putting out and stocking of cultured organisms: The number of organisms, species, origin, time when put out and average weight (live weight)

    

Volume per production unit Stock density Removed quantity of dead/dying stock Info. about the quantity must be specified as the number of stock and total weight in Kgs. Production result (harvest weight): Information about the quantity must be specified as the number of stock, volume, or total weight in kilograms

Usage of cleaning agents and disinfectants (chemical type, product name, quantity and usage period) as well as all major cleaning events

All inputs, as they are purchased and used.

Environment/Water quality

Water must come from a spring water supply, well, lake, river or marine area with minimal risk of pollution. Water sources must have minimal or no contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides or hormone disrupting chemicals.

The water quality of source water bodies must not become significantly deteriorated due to the farming operation. This must be determined by yearly monitoring and evaluation of macro-benthic diversity or measurements of single parameters (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate).

If a stream, spring, or well is the water source then a minimum of 50% of the average low water level must remain in the source.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

Producers must maintain production systems, whether self-contained or located in open water, such that sediment derived from the unit does not diminish the biodiversity of the environment.

Feed wastage or faeces, which are collected, must be used as fertiliser in organic agriculture or in other appropriate applications.

The cumulative impacts of all farms in the vicinity must be taken into consideration, rather than treating the farm as an isolated unit. The certification body may, at its discretion, require documentation of local carrying capacity or decline to certify farms in high-activity areas.

Construction materials and production equipment containing paints, basic materials, or impregnating materials with toxic chemical agents are totally prohibited. This includes copper anti-fouling agents and net-dips.

Conversion Period

Two inspections are required before an enterprise receives a certificate. The duration of time between inspections must be the greater of one year or the length of a growing cycle.

Once the transition growing cycle has been completed on a single unit, subsequent growing cycles (in the same or different units) may be developed as certified organic, provided an application is made, all standards are adhered to, and records are kept for inspection.

Basic material and stock origin/breeding

Producers must design breeding programs aimed at developing stock resistant to local disease pathogens. Breeds must be chosen that are adapted to local conditions.

 

Brought-in aquatic organisms must come from organic sources. Producers must be able to demonstrate that the breeding program ensures genetic diversity in the production stock.

 

Transgenic and genetically modified culture organisms. Artificially triploid or monosex stock.

Animal health and welfare

There must be hygienic routines and routine examinations must be carried out to detect nascent diseases and production disturbances. The cause and outbreaks of disease or infection must be identified, and management practices implemented to prevent the causative events and future outbreaks.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

When treatment is necessary, the use of natural methods and medicines must be first choice. Disease treatment must be carried out so that it minimises harmful effects on the environment and the animals’ health.

Conventional veterinary drugs and chemicals may only be used if no other justifiable alternative is available, and/or if the use of such chemicals is required according to national laws and standards.

In any production system where use of antibiotics or other prohibited treatments may be necessary, treated stock must be withdrawn from the certified organic production stream and may only be marketed as conventional product.

 

Emergency harvest must be considered as an alternative to drug treatment. Vaccinations are permitted if diseases which cannot be controlled by other management techniques are known to exist in the region. Vaccinations are also permitted if mandatory under applicable legislation.

Routine prophylactic treatments with drugs or chemical agents are prohibited so are drugs and additives in feed and water to artificially promote growth.

For production of species where active health management is the norm, current, accurate disease management record must be kept. The records must include:
o o

Identification of the infected and infecting organisms concerned Details of treatment and duration, including application rate, method of application, frequency of repetition, concentration of organisms


Brand name of drugs used and active ingredients.

Nutrition and feeding

All feed ingredients must be derived from certified organic ingredients, sustainable wild feed resources as detailed in species-specific standards, or other materials approved by the Codex.

Feed must only be offered in a way that allows natural feeding behaviour and minimizes loss of feed to the environment.

Coupling feed production with nutrient cycling through polyculture is strongly encouraged. The certifying body may, at its discretion, impose a schedule according to which producers must engage in commercial polyculture.


Transportation must not cause avoidable stress or injury to the animals.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

Transportation equipment and/or shipping materials must be selected with respect to environmental considerations and must not contaminate the product.

Chemically synthesized tranquillisers or stimulants must not be given to the animals prior to or during transport.

Harvest and processing

Harvest processes must minimise stress and suffering of the organisms. The handling and harvest of animals must be humane and directed at maximising the quality of the product without synthetic additives.

Any product sold as certified organic must be processed in a certified organic processing facility.

Labelling Product labels is mandatory or voluntary and may refer to different kinds of product characteristics or attributes including the product’s composition or contents, product quality or form, as well as environmental or social aspects of the product’s production process or method. The principal objective of an ecolabelling is to create a market-based incentive for better management of fisheries by creating consumer demand for seafood products from well-managed stocks. FAO has developed specific guidelines for product certification and ecolabelling for fish and fishery products details of which is given below. 3.4 ORGANIC INSPECTION & CERTIFICATION Currently, many private and government bodies (including European Union and USDA NOP) are in the process of developing standards for sustainable aquaculture methods. Naturland- Germany, BioSuisse-Switzerland, and Soil Association-UK etc. are some of the internationally accepted private labels for organic aquaculture. The entire chain of custody i.e., from the farm to the plate has to be certified to get greater acceptance in the international market. The certifiers work in co-operation with independent inspection bodies experienced in quality assurance to guarantee the implementation and credibility of their label. INDOCERT and its role in aquaculture certification INDOCERT started activities related to organic aquaculture certification from the year 2004 onwards. The organic market for Aquaculture products is not yet regulated in most of the countries.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

Hence INDOCERT offers inspection services for organic aquaculture production and processing according to the standards of Naturland.e.V, a certification body based in Germany. INDOCERT has a team of well experienced and committed professionals in aquaculture to offer inspection services in India for the entire supply chain from the hatchery to the consumer. Services provided by INDOCERT in organic aquaculture certification:

INDOCERT offers inspection services for Naturland e.V for certification

organic aquaculture


Inspections for Pilot projects (IOAP) according to Naturland standards for the development of specific inspection systems for aquaculture operations (especially for pond culture of Shrimp/Prawns).


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development


Compatibility of fish farming with the eco-centric ethics inherent in Organic Farming, considering the ecological risks involved in sea farming, the advantages of using natural ecosystem services rather than farming, and the dubious task of domestication of new species.

    

Possibility to develop more robust aquaculture production systems to reduce the ecological impact of fish farming. Organic standards on secure welfare of species, for which very little knowledge about their physiological, behavioural and other welfare needs. Develop suitable fish feeds that take into account ethical, economic, and physiological concerns. There are conflicting interests and dilemmas related to vaccination and treatment of diseases and parasite infestations be handled. Solving of practical or technical problems, for example, those related to securing fish welfare during transport and slaughtering of the fish, pigmentation in fish feeds, and artificial light regimes applied in cages to prevent early sexual maturation of cod.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

5.1 Farmers in Kerala State harvested the world’s first batch of organic

freshwater prawn This farming of the organic black tiger and scampi was initiated in January 2007 in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), formerly SIPPO. Technical consultancy came from M/s BLUEYOU. The aim is to capture the niche market for organic aquaculture products in EU markets. Organic scampi culture began in Kuttanad in Alappuzha District, Kerala. The area is already well known for scampi farming because of the presence of extensive padasekharams (rice fields) and ponds. In the 20ha of freshwater pond area operated by the Kuttanad organic scampi farming group, MPEDA provided technical information on pond preparation. Post larvae (PL 10) were supplied by Rosen Fisheries Hatchery. Stocking density was 2PL/sq m, initially in nursery ponds and then transferred to grow out ponds. In this project, Rosen supplied 34,000 post larvae, stocked in March/April 2008 in 20 ha of ponds belonging to four farmers in Kerala and 80,000 post larvae to 33ha of ponds belonging to two aquaculture societies in West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh. Two other hatcheries, Queens and St John Bosco, will also produce organic post larvae of the black tiger shrimp. Shrimp were fed with organic feeds produced by Waterbase Pvt Ltd. The company has a Naturland certification for organic starter, grow-out and finisher feeds for the scampi and black tiger shrimp. Ingredients comprise rice bran, soyabean meal, wheat bran, vitamins and minerals premix and guar gum as binder. The project also identified Baby Marine International in Kochi and Jagdish Marine Export, Andhra Pradesh for the processing of organic products. Certification is mandatory for selling organic products in most markets of the world and the certifying organization for products from this organic aquaculture project is Naturland, Germany. The local inspection body for Naturland is Indocert of Kerala in India which conducted training for all participating groups on the control systems, technical know-how of organic farming and its other prerequisites in August. (Source: Aquaculture Asia Pacific, January/February 2009)


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development


Suitable areas for undertaking Organic Shrimp/scampi culture have been selected in the states of Kerala & Andhra Pradesh & Odisha. Also some more areas are being identified in these states as well as in Tamil Nadu. To encourage the farmers for undertaking Organic Aquaculture, financial assistance in the form of subsidy, is proposed to be provided by MPEDA, for the certification and feed cost; as these are the major expenditures to be borne by the beneficiary. The details on the subsidy to be provided per ha for a beneficiary are given below: Subsidy components: I. Amount to be paid for Inspection/Certification/Membership: Fee per ha (approx) II. Cost of Organic Shrimp/Scampi feed: (1000Kgs/Ha.@(Rs.60/Kg for shrimp Feed and 1500 kg/Ha @ Rs 40/Kg for Scampi feed) Total: Rs. 65,000.00 III. 50% of the certification cost and feed cost: Rs. 65,000.00 x 50% = Rs.32, 500.00 IV. Subsidy amount per ha will be limited to Rs.25, 000/- (upper limit) or 50% of the total cost of Certification and feed, whichever is less. V. One beneficiary can avail subsidy for a maximum area of 6 ha and above, subject to the financial ceiling of Rs.1.5 lakh to the max., per beneficiary, for undertaking organic aquaculture in 6 ha and above. In the case of Groups/cluster/Society, the upper limit will be Rs.7.5 lakh for 30 ha or more. Rs.60, 000.00 Rs. 5,000.00


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development

CONCLUSION: Organic fish farming is a new concept and is still in the early stages of development and strives to re-establish a proper balance in aquaculture systems, for the benefit of the fish, the environment and the consumers. Organic fish farming systems and standards that define them are likely to witness considerable evolution and refinement over the years. However, for the moment, three basic issues have to be conformed to - for setting up standards. Nutrient cycling within closed systems, following the law of return, is a central organic principle. Also, the use of pesticides dyes and antibiotics, which are conventionally used in aquaculture are not to be permitted. Water, which is both soil and air to the fish, is the critical issue, the quality of which plays an important role in the quality of the product. Standards must be set up on the quality and purity of the incoming and outgoing water in terms of environmental impact. The feed, consisting of fishmeal, fish oil, cerealbased products, vitamins and minerals etc. should be organically produced. It is not an easy task to bring down and remove the level of organo-chlorine pollutants in the marine fish that are used for conversion into fishmeal. National standards would have to be set up which the farmers and exporters who seek ecolabelling will have to abide by.


ORGANIC AQUACULTURE- A new approach in fisheries development


1. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper - Product certification and ecolabelling for fisheries sustainability, Cathy Roheim Wessells, Kevern Cochrane, Carolyn Deere & Paul Wallis.

2. Hindu Bussiness Line (2005). Organic aquaculture key to growth. Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications, Kochi , May 17, 2005.

3. REFERENCE SITES      

IFOAM, 2002 from: “Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools.” From