Alternative farming

Published: Tuesday 30 September 1997

seabass , a delicious table fish, popularly known as koduva in Tamil and bhetki in Bengali, has been successfully bred in the country by the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture ( ciba ). This breakthrough has provided an alternative to shrimp farming, which is increasingly coming under attack on ecological grounds. Shrimp farmers would now have the option of rotating crops between seabass and shrimp in the same ponds. This practice not only helps in avoiding disease carriers of shrimps, but also raises the stock of coastal aquaculture, which has become a major controversy, according to P V Dehadrai, deputy director, General (fisheries) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The ciba scientists subjected the broodstock of the Indian seabass to induced maturation by using hormone pellet implantation. Later, it was subjected to induced breeding. The breakthrough will now ensure that the Bengali bhetki is easily available in the domestic market. The Indian seabass withstands variations in salinity. This enables its culturing in the interior parts of coastal areas utilising brackish water resources of estuaries, lagoons and backwaters.

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