Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on Sunday visited the Central Marine Fisheries Research Centre (CMFRI) at Mandapam and the seaweed seed production centre at Marine Algal Research Station (MARS) of the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) at Thonithurai in Pamban and inspected ongoing projects.

Earlier, the Minister, who will address a Parliamentary Committee Meeting on Mariculture on Monday, visited Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial and paid homage to the former president.

Mr, Singh who was on his maiden visit to CMFRI, held informal discussions with its Director A Gopalakrishnan, Scientist in-charge A.K. Abdul Nazar, scientists and staff members and reviewed the thrust areas of research and ongoing research projects.

The Mandapam regional centre was conducting research on mariculture development and standardisation of seed production technologies for high-value finfish and shellfish.

Mariculture innovations

The institute was also engaged in mariculture innovations in cage farming and coastal mariculture.

The National Fisheries Development Board-funded hatcheries, set up at CMFRI and Tamil Nadu Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Fisheries University at Seeniappa Dargah in Mandapam for producing and supplying hatchlings for cage culture, also came up for discussion, officials said.

Later he distributed hatchlings to beneficiaries.

Accompanied by Collector S. Natarajan and officials from Central and State governments, Mr. Singh later visited the National Fisheries Development Board-funded seaweed seed production centre at Thonithurai and distributed seeds to beneficiaries.

K. Eswaran, Scientist in-charge, MARS – CSMCRI explained the activities of the centre to him.

The Centre was just a month old and had so far produced about 500 kg of seaweed seeds of
gracilaria edulis
species, he said. It proposed to produce 15,000 kg of seeds in two years. At present, about 650 women members of self help groups were engaged in seaweed cultivation using raft technology in Rameswaram, he said.

The government wanted to rope in at least one lakh women for seaweed cultivation in the coming months, he added.

Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Parshottam Rupala and Krishna Raj, and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal are here to attend the parliamentary committee meeting. In all, 22 MPs, including six Rajya Sabha members, have arrived here for the meeting.

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