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Marine scientists exult over success of pilot project

Orange-spotted grouper, Indian pompano command good price in global market

August 17, 2018 01:46 am | Updated 07:48 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Maiden yield:  Orange-spotted grouper fish being collected from a cage installed by the  Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, off Visakhapatnam.

Maiden yield: Orange-spotted grouper fish being collected from a cage installed by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, off Visakhapatnam.

A small group of marine scientists on-board R.V. Cadalmin-I broke into a dance on seeing two varieties of fish grown in cages erected in the territorial waters from the baseline of the coast brought to the shore.

The maiden harvest of orange-spotted grouper ( Epinephelus coioides ) and Indian pompano (Trachinotus mookalee) in cages signalled a landmark in the history of Indian mariculture on Thursday.

This was the first time after the pilot project taken up almost a year ago by the Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute the maiden harvest was symbolically flagged off.

“I don’t have words to describe my jubilation at the success of my colleagues at CMFRI. For the first time, successful cage culture has been done after developing the seed technology at our lab. I compliment all those involved in the execution of the project,” an overwhelmed A. Gopalakrishnan, Director, CMFRI told The Hindu .

The yield is estimated at 9 tonnes. The formal flagging off of the harvested fish will be made on August 18 after which they will be sent to Kolkata for the West Bengal Fisheries Development Corporation. The average growth is around 750 gram. The groupers have grown on average to 1.5 kg to 1.8 kg. Of nine cages, one was earmarked for orange-spotted grouper and three for Indian pompano. Five others are devoted for brood stock.

The average production cost is ₹180 as against farm-gate price of ₹350. The grouper, which is most sought after, fetches ₹1,500 per kg if sold live in South East Asia and other countries. Frozen ones are sold at ₹750 per kg in Dubai.

Pond culture

The two candidate species have a huge demand in finfish mariculture, said Shubhadeep Ghosh, Principal Scientist Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of CMFRI, adding they had encouraged pond culture of the two species at Nagayalanka in Krishna and Bhimavaram in West Godavari district. He thanked the team of scientists at the local centre for developing seed production technology for the species in the last few years. The two species are highly amenable to cage farming with impressive growth rate and survival. Imelda Joseph, head of mariculture division of CMFRI and G. Gopakumar, an authority on mariculture, said that the harvest was the first reported grow-out and it would contribute immensely to the blue revolution.

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