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MPEDA's mud crab hatchery technology gets patent right

MPEDA’s mud crab hatchery technology gets patent right

MPEDA’s mud crab hatchery technology gets patent right

Visakhapatnam In a major milestone in India's aquaculture sector, Marine Products Export Development Athority (MPEDA)-Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA)'s mud crab hatchery technology, the only one of its kind in the country, has been granted patent by the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trade Marks for 20 years till 2030.

According to a press release issued by MPEDA, the hatchery technology for mud crab (scientific name – Scylla serrata), a much in demand species in South East Asian countries where live crabs are highly preferred as a delectable seafood, has been developed by RGCA, the research and development arm of MPEDA.

MPEDA Chairman K.S. Srinivas said it is a remarkable achievement in the history of Indian aquaculture as for the first time the Central Government has granted patent for this technology.

"It will go a long way in meeting the seed requirement of farmers who intend to undertake diversified species for aquaculture instead of concentrating on shrimp farming alone. MPEDA is dedicating this achievement to the aquaculture farmers of the country for their support and to the young scientists of RGCA who have worked tirelessly to achieve this morale-boosting feat," added Srinivas.

Taking into account that there is no other hatchery for mud crab in India, RGCA had applied for patent right for the mud crab hatchery technology in 2011 with the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trade Marks.

However, the patent was granted after following a long arduous process. Various research institutions in the world discussed the matter with renowned experts, who referred various research references and held a string of meetings with RGCA's scientists with facts and figures.

After ascertaining the various issues, it was finally decided to grant the patent right to the hatchery technology of MPEDA–RGCA for 20 years, which is unique in India.

Keeping in view the huge demand of mud crab, especially in South East Asia, MPEDA had initiated a pilot project for mud crab seed (known as crab-instar) production during 2004 and subsequently made the commercial hatchery for the first time in India during 2013 with the capacity of one million per annum.

Due to its growing demand, the seed production capacity of RGCA's mud crab hatchery has been increased to 1.4 million per annum.

Dr. Emilia T. Quinitio, an eminent scientist from Aquaculture Division of International Institute known as Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), Philippines, had extended the consultancy service till 2013 to RGCA. Since then, the technology has been standardised by the RGCA's scientists within a short span of period.

The MPEDA chairman said the major achievement lies in increasing the survival rate of crab instar from three per cent world record to seven per cent. Further, the hatchery unit is designed in such a manner that all sections are under one roof with complete bio-security measures.

So far, 7.28 million seeds have been produced and supplied to 659 farmers across the country.

RGCA has been set up to give a fillip to commercialization of diversified aquaculture species such as sea bass, mud crab, Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT), cobia, pompano and artemia. It focuses on increasing India's marine products export by producing and supplying good quality seeds, which is a prime input for aquaculture.

"We would like to thank the Department of Commerce and Department of Fisheries of the Central Government besides the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for their continued support to MPEDA-RGCA for implementation of projects for promotion of diversified aquaculture in India," Shri Srinivas said.

Santosh Patnaik
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