Andhra Pradesh all set to have Aqua University for Fisheries Education

Narasapuram: The Andhra Pradesh (AP) Aqua University is all set to come up on a 40-acre site near Narasapuram in West Godavari district with an estimated cost of Rs 332 crore in the first phase. The institute will come to reality after years of delay in its establishment. With this, Andhra Pradesh, which is said to be the largest exporter of marine products, will become the fifth state after Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal to have such a university while Maharashtra is home to the Central Institute of Fisheries Education.

In the second phase, a seafront campus and research center will be established on a 350-acre site at Biyyaputippa village for Rs 222 crore, according to the Chief Minister’s Office.

West Godavari is the hub of aquaculture in the state with shrimp farms spread over thousands of hectares and the presence of numerous processing units, an official release said.

The previous Chandrababu Naidu government first mooted the proposal to set up an exclusive fisheries university, given the booming aquaculture sector in the state, in public-private partnership mode.

Thailand-based Asian Institute of Technology came forward in 2015 to a partnership for technology transfer and Bhimavaram-based Anand Group of Companies ventured to establish the university in an area of 150 acres. In 2017, the Chinese Xi’an University too agreed to extend its cooperation for setting up the fisheries university through knowledge transfer and research.

The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government enacted legislation in December 2020 for setting up the AP Fisheries University and subsequently changed the name to AP Aqua University.

The objective of the university will be to impart education in different branches of fisheries science and undertake extension activities in rural areas of the state.

Promotion of research, technology refinement in production and post-harvest technologies, including processing and marketing, and streamlining fisheries education leading to the comprehensive development of the aqua sector are some of the other objectives of the university.

The aqua university will offer a diploma in fisheries and undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Fisheries Science, besides Ph.D. degrees. The existing College of Fishery Science at Muthukur in SPS Nellore district, the Sri Mandali Venkata Krishna Rao Fisheries Polytechnic in Krishna district, fisheries research stations at Kakinada and Undi, the instructional research aqua firm at Balabhadrapuram will now be brought under the AP Aqua University.

A major research project on fish disease surveillance being undertaken by the College of Fishery Science will also be brought under the new university, apart from the Antibiotic Residue Analysis Laboratory at Visakhapatnam and the Advance Diagnostic Laboratory at Undi. The state government hopes the university, when fully functional, will provide the much-needed skilled human resources for the aquaculture sector and immensely benefit the farmers.

“Through right interventions, aqua crop losses can be curtailed, thereby leading to a monetary benefit of about Rs 4,000 crore per annum to the farmers,” a top official of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department said. Proposals for setting up new fisheries colleges and polytechnics in different parts of the state were under consideration, he said.