Agri Business

CIBA develops indigenous hatchery tech for high-value commercial fish Grey Mullet

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 29, 2021

This tech can give a major leg-up to fish production; farmers have been awaiting it for over three decades

For the first time in the country, Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has announced roll-out of the indigenous hatchery technology for Grey Mullet, a high-valued commercial fish.

CIBA has successfully bred the Grey Mullet (Madavai), a highly sought after fish for farming; farmers have been awaiting such a technology for more than three decades. The long-awaited breeding technology is a major breakthrough that can help increase fish production, in line with the government’s blue revolution initiatives, said KK Vijayan, Director, CIBA.

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Grey Mullet (known as Thirutha in Malayalam) is a preferred choice for consumers due to its taste, texture, less spines, and nutritional value. The fish fetches a good market price — in the range of ₹350-500 per kg. Fast growth rates, omnivorous feeding habit, and acceptance of formulated pellet feed make this fish an ideal variety not only for brackishwater farming, but also for freshwater and marine farming, he said.

It can be farmed in diverse farming systems — mono culture, poly culture and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture mode (IMTA) — with potential output of four tonnes per hectare/crop. With cost of production at around ₹200, he said, the profit margin is high for farmers.

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Considering its significance for brackishwater aquaculture, he said, CIBA has given greater impetus in the breeding of grey mullet since 2015, lending special focus on developing a captive broodstock and breeding.

One of the issues with the breeding of grey mullet in captivity is its short annual reproductive period — limited to just a few weeks during monsoon, and reproductive dysfunctions in captivity, and hence, hatchery production is challenging, he added.

This is a great achievement towards species diversification to increase the fish production in the enormous stretch of underutilized brackishwater resource in the country, said JK Jena, DDG, (Fisheries), ICAR.

According to Vijayan, CIBA has already made commendable progress in seed production of various brackishwater food fish species like Asian Seabass, Milkfish, Pearl Spot, Whiskered Catfish as well as ornamental species such as Spotted Scat, Moon Fish, Orange and Chromide.

Published on January 29, 2021

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