National News

Breakthrough in aquaculture: ICAR-CIBA develops seed production technology of Red Snapper

In print edition: June 2021

First of its kind achievement in India;

Red Snapper is the most sought-after high value fish

Solution for long-pending issue of lack of quality seeds in red snapper aquaculture

Chennai: In a major boost to diversification of brackishwater aquaculture in the country, the ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has successfully developed seed production technology of red snapper (Lutjanus argentemaculatus), a high value fish, for the first time in India. According to aquaculture experts, this achievement would help solve a major issue of lack of hatchery produced quality seeds in consistent basis in aquaculture of red snapper and would open up enormous scope for the country’s brackishwater aquaculture ventures in near future.

High value fish

Due to its excellent meat quality and taste, the consumer preference for this fish is very high, and consistent demand from the consumers provides stable market price in the range of Rs.400 to Rs.600/kg. Locally known as Seppili (in Tamil) and Chembally (in Malayalam) , the fish has immense potential for brackishwater aquaculture owing to its fast growth rate, easy adaptability to culture conditions, quick acceptance of artificial feed, pleasant appearance and good meat quality. It is an ideal candidate species suitable for different rearing systems such as ponds, pens and cages. This species which readily accepts formulated feed can grow to marketable size of 300-500 gm in less than six months, making this fish a farmer’s choice. The institute took five years of research to develop the technology of this fish that is called as Mangrove red snapper.

Species diversification to boost domestic fish production

Earlier the CIBA had developed the hatchery technology of sea bass, milkfish and grey mullet. “With this achievement, the CIBA has introduced one more candidate species for brackishwater aquaculture diversification and sustainability”, said Dr K K Vijayan, Director of CIBA. “Now, the fish farmers have diversified options to choose their candidate species for aquaculture. The feat will help increase the domestic production through brackishwater aquaculture in the country”, he added.

CIBA gave high impetus to develop a complete hatchery technology for red snapper considering the fact that aquaculture of this fish was very limited in the country due to unavailability of hatchery produced quality seeds in consistent basis for stocking in nursery and grow-out systems, Dr Vijayan said adding that cage and pond based aquaculture of red snapper would be popularised in near future.

Dedicating the technology to the nation, Dr J K Jena, Deputy Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) described the development a milestone in Indian brackishwater aquaculture sector. The achievement in captive breeding would become backbone for mass scale hatchery based seeds in coming years which would be greatly beneficial to the farming community.

The first batch of fingerlings bred by CIBA was distributed to selected fish farmers from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. “The farmers will grow the fingerlings at their respective farms and will return the selected broodstock to the CIBA on a buy-back mode for further breeding in the hatchery”, said Dr. Kailasam, who led the team of researchers to develop the technology. He hoped that private players would come forward to adopt this hatchery technology so that seed production could be scaled up.

Red Snapper

Fingerlings of red snapper bred by CIBA

CIBA Director Dr K K Vijayan handing over newly bred fingerlings of red snapper to a farmer