It has gone up by 10 per cent, says Dean

: Aquaculture accounts for 42 per cent of the total world fisheries production and its annual growth rate has been increasing approximately by 10 per cent, according to V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin.

Research activities on marine finfish culture were emerging and receive attention across India and commercial farming was gradually picking up, he said.

Dr. Venkatramani cited the case of Cobia (Rachycentron canadum), a marine finfish of high quality with white flesh and good export potential.

Impressive developments in culturing this cobia species had been witnessed in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the USA and other countries, he added.

“Currently, global production of cobia is estimated to be 35, 000 metric tonnes. India has created an opportunity to standardise the breeding protocol to produce cobia and culture methods under the National Agriculture Innovation Project. Cobia is reported to attain 5-6 kg in a year and has all the potential to become a leading marine species for culture,” Dr. Venkataramani told The Hindu here on Saturday.

At Maritech Research and Extension Centre, Tharuvaikulam here, a constituent unit of FCRI, cobia is being cultured in polythene-lined coastal ponds and sea cages.

N. Felix, Principal Investigator, said after 10 months of culture, the maximum size of a cobia recorded in a pond was 6.7 kg at sea cages.

Commercial feed was given at the rate of two or three per cent depending on its body weight and the FCRI had recorded its first successful culture in a pond in India.

Approximately 500 kg of cobia fish could be harvested in a 500 square meter pond, Dr. Venkatramani pointed out.