Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jul 17, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
`Sea bass farming has plenty of scope'
KOCHI, July 16
AFTER the overwhelming response to prawn aquaculture, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in association with Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) and Department of Primary Industries of Australia is successfully ushering in sea bass farming along the Indian coast.
Sea bass - known locally as kalanchi - is not only widely accepted locally but has a fair amount of export potential, Mr Jose Cyriac, Chairman of MPEDA, told Business Line.
The project was initiated by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture at Myladuthurai, which comes under MPEDA.
The project has already established a sea bass hatchery at Sirkazhi in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu.
The laboratory project was initiated by CIBA and the actual implementation is being pursued at Sirkazhi.
The project started out with 29 brooders which were caught from the wild, but they refused to feed in captivity. Their diet in the wild was most often live fish.
A weaning process was set in motion when their diet was transformed from live tilapia to dead sardines. The brooders were soon injected with hormones and they laid eggs. The eggs were hatched at the Sirkazhi hatchery and were reared to fingerling size, fit for commercial sale. The process of transformation from eggs to fingerling size was accomplished within 25 days, Mr Cyriac said.
With the prevailing cannibalism in the species, the grow-out stages also posed new problems. The growth stages were pursued at the sea bass demonstration farm at Karaikal.
It was at this stage that the Department of Primary Industries, Australia stepped in and helped with the project.
Dr Mike Rimmer and Dr Les Rodgers of the department helped ensure that the least amount of cannibalism prevailed among this commercially valuable species.
Cages were introduced into the ponds at Karaikal so that only sea bass of approximately the same size grew in the same cages. This reduced the risk of cannibalism to a great extent.
Another major problem was that the brooders lay eggs only for four months of the year.
The Australians have said that if certain conditions are provided, it would result in extending the productive span from the current four months to eight months.
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