Agri Business

Mpeda takes up pearl spot seed production on commercial scale

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on June 19, 2020

The production of Karimeen (pearl spot) fish, globally known for its tender flesh, delectable taste and high-yielding market value, has got a major boost with the Multispecies Aquaculture Complex (MAC) of Mpeda at Vallarpadam developing facilities for its commercial-scale breeding and seed production, offering a lucrative alternative to fish farmers to grow it round-the-year.

Mpeda Chairman KS Srinivas, while inaugurating the sale of first batch of Karimeen produced from MAC, said the commercial production will enable farmers to get good quality seeds throughout the year and enhance the production of the fish in the State.

In 2010, the Kerala government had declared Karimeen (Etroplus suratensis) as the ‘State Fish’ to protect this costly fish from over-exploitation, considering its food and economic value and a major attraction of culinary tourism. Cultured in traditional ponds in the State, it commands a high price of ₹500-600 a kg.

“The production of Karimeen should be substantially boosted in order to make it a candidate species for export. Nowadays, the farmers are mainly depending on wild caught seeds for culture. Too much dependency on the seeds from the wild will lead to over-exploitation,” Srinivas pointed out.

Seed production

Pearl Spot is an indigenous fish extensively found along the east and south-west coasts of India. It is an important candidate species for aquaculture in ponds, in both brackish water and freshwater.

Mpeda, through its R&D arm Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture initiated the functioning of MAC during December 2018 to revive the farming of Black Tiger shrimp and also to diversify the aquaculture in the West Coast through the continuous supply of GIFT (Tilapia), Asian Seabass and Pompano seeds. In 18 months, MAC has supplied 11.7 million seeds of different species to 3,236 beneficiaries.

During the current year, seed production of GIFT and Karimeen, along with tiger shrimp, has been initiated in MAC. The seeds will be supplied to farmers on a continuous basis. MAC has also planned to initiate seed production of other commercially important species in future.

Published on June 19, 2020

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