India's first Aquatic Rainbow Technology Park, an ultra modern exclusive facility for ornamental fish equipped with multi-species hatchery and live feed culture units, would become operational at Chennai in three months. Fulfilling a major requirement of the industry for mass production of high value aquarium fish, the facility was being developed by Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, the second largest exporter of ornamental fish after West Bengal, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) chairman A Jayathilak said here today. After its completion, it would be handed over to ornamental fish breeders and farmers on lease for three years, MPEDA hadbeen a part of the steering committee for the project. The Rs 10 crore facility, being funded by the Tamil Nadu Innovation Initiatives of the state government, would be equipped with advanced infrastructure and technical expertise for boosting production of high value ornamental fish species. It would also develop breeding technologies for high value indigenous ornamental fish species and ensure quality fish seeds in bulk quantities, he said. The ARTP would have a quarantine lab where exotic fish varieties imported from other countries would be treated forbacterial and viral infections. The entire facility would beprovided to fish growers in and around Chennai. The MPEDA had also been extending financial assistance and technical expertise to various states in the area of freshwater and marine ornamentals. The Centre had recently launched a pilot project on ornamental fisheries under the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) with an outlay of Rs 61.89 crore.
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