1. Production: (i) To enhance mariculture production through refinement of seed production techniques and commercialization of farming techniques of the edible oyster, Crassostrea madrasensis and the sand lobster, Thenus orientalis.
2. Processing: To develop and standardize techniques for production of value-added products like ready- to- serve/cook products from farmed oysters with special emphasis of food safety and quality, and popularization and promotion of farmed marine products.
3. By-product development: To develop model processing systems for production of ‘chitin’ from sand lobster shell and ‘oyster flavor extract’ from oysters.
4. Market: Expansion and strengthening of marketing linkages between production units, seafood industry and public caterers for commercialization of farmed marine live fish trade and value added products in domestic and global markets
Intermediate research findings :
The expected project duration is 3.5 years. The remote setting technique useful for setting oyster seed in distant regions will be available in 1.5 years. Though the complete technology package for sandnlobster will be ready by the third year, the results of activities related to brood stock development will be available by 1.5 years. The techniques for VAP production from farmed oysters will be developed and standardized in a year using farmed oysters from central Kerala.
New methodologies/ procedures
The larval rearing techniques developed for sand lobster will be specific to this agro-climatic region. Moreover the procedures for value addition of oysters based on the traditional Indian recipes will be new.
Final outcome and likely impact.
Scientific: The new procedures and techniques developed can result in the development of commercially viable technologies for sand lobster. Value added products from sand lobster and oysters will results as outcome of the project. Based on these techniques further improvements through research programs on marine finfish/sand lobster breeding and seed production can be made. Biotechnological interventions such as selective breeding for better yield, ploidy induction, cross breeding etc can be done. Even in oysters, ploidy inductions can be made once the hatchery techniques become user friendly. Such developments have taken place in Australia and other nations where the hatcheries supply triploid oysters.
Social: Immediate impact in the society will be made through popularization of oyster farming in other regions of Kerala. This can trigger a series of developments as has been observed in mussel farming where ancillary industries have developed to supply input to farmers.
The value added products will have better consumer acceptance and will lead to market development for low value seafood in the country.
Economic: The development of seed production techniques and popularization of oyster coupled with the development of VAP can pave the way for development of mariculture in the country as a significant food production sector.The production of VAP from oysters can lead to establishment of a new value chain in the country.
The village based VAP production and oyster seed production units will be operated by women SHGs and this will result in increased income for rural families. At least Rs 2000 per crop can be earned by each member of a 5 member Group.