Based on information collected in the field as summarized above, the task force identified major research requirements for establishing a better scientific understanding of the various physico-chemical and biological processes which interact with fish in waste-laden ponds in integrated farms. Research into fish yield in relation to these processes as well as to stocking density and stocking ratios is therefore necessary. The economics of production of various crops, and the economic relationships in an integrated farm with fish as the main produce, have also to be incorporated into the research programme and evaluated under different patterns of integration. The understanding of such inter-relationship is of primary importance if the technology of integrated fish farming is to be adopted in other areas having different environmental and socio-economic conditions.
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As manure is the major factor controlling fish production in an integrated fish farm, research effort will be concentrated on its utilization and management, using fish yield and economic benefit as its functions. Waste in the form of manure from sideline occupations, e.g., silk processing, will not be included in the proposed research programme since it is not expected to play a major contributory role in promoting fish production in integrated farms to be developed elsewhere. Similarly, research into the use of sewage from such farms for fish production is also omitted for the same reason.
Based on these criteria, the following priority areas of research are proposed:
(i) Comparative studies on the effects of fresh and fermented animal manure on fish yield.
(ii) Comparative studies on the effects of different livestock feeds on the nature and efficiency of manure for fish production.
(iii) Comparative studies on the performance of different livestock manures in relation to fish production.
(iv) Relationship between organic and chemical composition of animal manure and fish yield.
(v) Establishment of a standard procedure for manure application including frequency, rate, and method of application for increased fish production.
(vi) Comparative studies on the effects of fresh and composted green manure on fish yield.
(vii) Comparative studies on the effects of different types of green manure on fish production.
(viii) Studies on the relative values of green manure and animal manure on fish production.
(ix) Comparative studies on the performance of treated and untreated straw on fish growth.
(x) Water quality and pond dynamics studies for establishing an upper limit of manure quantum which could be 'safely' added to fish ponds under different environmental conditions.
(xi) Studies on the effects of manuring on fish health and sanitation.
(xii) Studies on the physico-chemical and biological effects of silt on fish and crop production.
(xiii) Studies on stocking densities and stocking ratios of fish in manured ponds.
(xiv) Studies on the relationship between size and depth of manured ponds and fish yield.
(xv) Development of supplementary fish diets from agriculture wastes of integrated farms.
(xvi) Comparative studies on the economics of dual and multiple integration of crops, aimed at establishing models for various integrated farming systems.
(xvii) Observational studies of various systems of integrated farming as practised in China for initial planning of models.