CHENNAI: In a significant breakthrough, scientists from the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) have managed to breed the Crescent Perch fishes for the first time in the country.
The perches are being bred naturally at the Muttukadu Experimental Research Centre
Crescent Perch, also known as Terapon Jarbua or Target Fish, are carnivorous fishes, most sought after for their high ornamental value. “One fish is worth USD 25 abroad. Once the farmers involved in aquaculture start breeding these, it will prove to be highly profitable for them,” says Dr Satyanarayan Sethi , senior scientist, Fish Culture Division of the CIBA.
Mainly found in the Indian and Pacific oceans, Crescent Perch can grow upto to 36 centimetres. They feed on algae and planktons and can lay upto three lakh eggs at one time. They are a rare sight in markets and aquariums in the country, and scientists say that many usually buy the seeds from China and other regions lying in the Indo Pacific.
“We decided to breed this to ease the process and help the fishermen involved in farming,” says another scientist.
At the Muttukadu centre, the male and female fishes are given hormone injections and left in water tanks. The process was far from easy. Two months ago, when the scientists began breeding the fish, they encountered a major problem.
“This year, the winter had extended to two more months and the temperature fell drastically, whereas the minimum required temperature for breeding this fish is 30-35 degrees celcius. Out of the three lakh eggs, only 23 were left alive. Since then, we began taking extra care and precaution and started using thermostats and other equipments to keep the temperature constant,” says Dr Sethi.
CIBA had in the past achieved breakthrough by standardising a method for captive breeding of ornamental fishes like Spotted Scats and Sea Angels, “This prevented Scats from becoming extinct,” he adds. CIBA is breeding them to keep their population alive and growing.
CIBA is also breeding orange/yellow chromides, as they too are rare and thus of high value. “Both these fishes are edible and can yield great returns to farmers. While the chromide eggs are available for distribution, that of the Crescent perch will take some more time,” he says. Those interested can contact CIBA office located on Santhome High Road.