Thiruvananthapuram, May 14 (IANS): In a major boost to the country's aquaculture sector MPEDA-RGCA's mud crab hatchery technology, the only one of its kind in the country, has been granted a patent by the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trade Marks, Govt. of India, for 20 years from 2011 to 2030.
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 the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), the research and development arm of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).
MPEDA chairman K.S. Srinivas said this is for the first time the Central Government has granted a patent for this technology in the country.
"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," said Srinivas, who is also the president of the RGCA.
The RGCA had applied for the patent for the mud crab hatchery technology in 2011 with the Controller General of Patent, Design and Trade Marks.
However, the patent was granted only after a long arduous process. Various research institutions in the world discussed the matter with experts, who referred to 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 to the hatchery technology of MPEDA-RGCA for 20 years.
Keeping in view the huge demand for mud crab, especially in the South East Asian countries, MPEDA had initiated a pilot project for mud crab seed (known as crab-instar) production during 2004 and subsequently set up a commercial hatchery for the first time in India during 2013 with a capacity of one million seeds 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.
The MPEDA chairman said the major achievement lies in increasing the survival rate of crab instar from a world record three per cent to seven per cent. 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.