Thanks to efforts by the CMFRI, cobia may now be farmed by interested coastal fish farmers in India. (Photo: Stock File)
Cobia successfully bred in captivity
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 15:40 (GMT + 9)
The Kochi-based Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has successfully breeding cobia or Rachycentron canadum in captivity at its regional centre at Mandapam. The feat opens the door to immense possibilities for enterprising farmers in coastal areas to raise the fish on a large scale.
Marine scientists have been focusing on broodstock development to propagate species and help farmers and seafood exporters, as a result of depleted stocks and the migration of numerous species from their traditional backgrounds.
Seafood exporters say there is a huge demand for cobia, or black kingfish, in both local and international markets. The animal can weigh up to 60 kg and fetches anywhere between INR 300 (USD 6.45) and INR 350 (USD 7.52) a kg.
Cobia is an ideal species for aquaculture because it grows quickly, is highly adaptable to spawning in captivity, has a high meat quality, enjoys a great market demand and it can be bred at a low cost, reports Express Buzz.
CMFRI scientists at the institute’s Mandapam Regional Centre stocked male and female cobia in separate cages and placed a select female and two males in a single tank. Of the resulting 210,000 eggs, 190,000 were fertilised.
In mid-March, the scientists had 150,000 fry and stocked them in 15 separate tanks.
The larvae were kept in 15 FRP tanks each with a capacity of 5 tonnes at an average density of 50,000 larvae per tank for intensive larviculture. The left over larvae were placed in three 100-tonne cement tanks for extensive larviculture trials.
The scientists may soon standardise the techniques for successful seed production. The process could lead to large-scale sea cage farming of cobia in India.
Taiwan and China have already achieved successful development of cobia culture and hit the market with their products.
Cobia are pelagic and usually solitary except for spawning aggregations each year. They gather at reefs, wrecks, harbours, buoys and other like structures, and enter estuaries and mangroves to hunt for food.
These fish feed chiefly on crabs, squid and similar fish. Cobia tend to follow larger predators -- such as sharks, turtles and manta rays – to eat their meals’ leftovers.
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