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Land based broodstock of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) at CIBA. (Photo: ciba.res.in)

Aquaculture industry gets cozy with cobia

Click on the flag for more information about India INDIA
Friday, October 26, 2012, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) has become one of the important food fish in India in the past decade, and Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has been able to control the breeding of the species from pond-reared broodstock for the first time.

“Cobia farming is done in cages erected in calm sea waters in countries like Vietnam. But in a country like India, where the sea is always turbulent, setting up cages is a difficult task. It is here our technology has paved a new path,” explained AR Thirunavukarasu, Principal Investigator of the project and Head, Fish Culture Division of the CIBA.

This week, M Sakthivel, former chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), handed over the juveniles of cobia -- known as black king fish, lemon fish and crab eater -- to two beneficiaries, The Hindu reports.

“Ten years ago the fish was nowhere in the picture. Now it has a bright future as a commercially valuable fish,” Sakthivel said.

Eating cobia in India was unheard of 10 years ago, but new developments are changing the popular sentiment about the species.

Thirunavukarasu noted that -- as the fish grows quickly (up to 10 kg in a year) and has better adaptability, excellent texture and flavour, plus an ability to fetch a good price domestically and a potential for export -- cobia has been identified as a fish for diversified farming in cages and ponds in marine and brackishwater ecosystems.

Hatching takes place after 20-22 hours and 30 days of rearing. Juveniles reach a length of 10 cm and can be raised in nursery and grow-out systems in cages and ponds.

Director of the CIBA Dr AG Ponniah also said the fish grew very rapidly.

“Since it is not easy for hatchery owners to set up cages in the sea, CIBA’s technology will enable them to rear the fish in farms,” he said.

Fish farmers can harvest 1 ton a year from 100 juveniles when using cobia, whereas when farming seabass, harvesting 1 ton of fish requires the use of 1,000 juveniles.

Thirunavukarasu said that each cobia releases millions of eggs during every spawning and the male fish fertilise them externally.

“At the experimental station, we keep the female and male at the ratio of 1:2 and subject them to induced spawning. For accelerating ovulation, female fish are given hormone injection,” he said.

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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