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Updated: January 2, 2014 11:58 IST

Ladyfish raises hopes of scientists, Krishna district farmers

Staff Reporter
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Sillago Sihama brackish water fish being cultivated in Krishna district. Photo: T. Appala Naidu
The Hindu Sillago Sihama brackish water fish being cultivated in Krishna district. Photo: T. Appala Naidu

CMFRI ties up with Nagayalanka-based farmer to cultivate it

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute’s (CMFRI) project of cultivating Sillago sihama, knows as ‘Ladyfish’, in Nagayalanka of Krishna district is raising the hopes of scientists and farmers to tap the potential of the huge market for the fish in Indian metros.

At a time when shrimp cultivation is becoming less lucrative, the brackish water Ladyfish is likely to woo aquaculture farmers in the Krishna-Godavari delta.

This is the first project of the CMFRI in the country to test the possibility and survival of the brackish water fish with a view to cultivating it in other parts of India, particularly Karnataka.

In July, scientists of the CMFRI Mangalore Research Centre collaborated with Nagayalanka-based farmer T. Raghu Sekhar after he had collected over 20,000 Sillago sihama seed from the mangrove forest in Nagayalanka.

“I rejected the scientists’ request to hand over the seed to them. Instead, I sought their support and guidance to cultivate the fish in my own pond and they agreed,” said Mr. Sekhar.

Considering the cultivation of the fish in the two-acre pond at Pedakammavaripalem in Nagayalanka mandal, the scientists began their project and achieved favourable results.

Survival rate

“Survival rate of the fish is good when compared with other brackish water species. If each fish records a growth of not less than 100 grams, it would be a huge success and lucrative on the marketing front.

“We will then replicate the cultivation to parts of Karnataka,” a scientist of the research station told The Hindu over phone.

Demand

The fish has a great demand in Indian metros, apart from the local market. “The success of the project will help tap and meet the demand for the fish in our country in the coming years,” the scientist has said.

“By mid-December, the weight of each fish reached 50 grams. It is likely to grow to the targeted weight – 100 grams – by harvest time.  Being blessed with mangrove forests that are rich fish seed banks, cultivation of Sillago sihama is likely to be seen as an alternative to the Vannamei shrimp in the Krishna-Godavari delta,” Mr. Sekhar said.

According to local communities, the availability of the Sillago sihama seed is particularly abundant in the mangrove forest, adjacent to the point where the river merges into the sea.

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