The ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) opened its doors to students and public on the occasion of its 71st Foundation Day celebrations on 3rd February 2018 at its Headquarters in Kochi and at 11 Regional Research Centres. The Open House programme evoked a huge response from the public to enjoy the ringside view of marine wonders and to learn the latest developments in marine research.
Nearly 5000 people visited at the Headquarters of the institute located in Kochi, to watch in awe the splendours of aquatic organisms in the sea and to interact with the scientists. As part of the programme, the National Marine Biodiversity Museum, various state-of-the-art laboratories, marine research aquarium, Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC) and hatcheries were opened to the public. The museum, which is designated as the National Repository by the Union Government, was the main attraction to the visitors. It accommodates over 2,200 specimens of marine flora and fauna.
The Open House also highlighted the impact of climate change on marine fisheries sector. The research output of the study on climate change carried out under the National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) was displayed to the public on the occasion. The scientists associated with the NICRA project explained the findings of the study to the public. The study indicated that there had been changes in scores of areas such as sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, wind and rainfall, ocean current, spawning season, maturity, distribution and catch of various marine fishes owing to climate change.
The visitors also displayed keen interest in understanding the functioning of the fish ageing laboratory situated at the Headquarters. The laboratory uses state-of-the-art equipment to find out the age of the fishes and the scientists explained to the visitors the various stages involved in the process. Models of cage fish farming, aquaponics, ornamental fish farming, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) etc. were demonstrated to the public. The visitors also interacted with the scientists and engaged in discussions on the issues and challenges being faced by the marine fishery of the country. Laboratories related to molecular biology, bioprospecting, cell culture, fishery biology, environmental research, climate change, ocean acidification etc. also were opened to the public during the programme.
Foundation day was also celebrated in all the Regional Research Centres located in Veraval, Mumbai, Karwar, Mangalore, Calicut, Vizhinjam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Mandapam, Visakhapatnam and Digha, and the Field Centre in Puri and the KVK of ICAR-CMFRI in Ernakulum by conducting similar Open House programmes, attracting the public to view and understand the research activities of the institute. Besides exhibition, awareness lectures, interactive meets, film exhibition and several competitions were organised by various Regional Research Centres of the Institute.