CMFRI scientist achieves breakthrough in mass-scale seed production of Indian pompano

Published on
August 23, 2017

An Indian scientist associated with the government-owned aquaculture organization, ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), claims he has achieved a breakthrough in mass-scale breeding of pompano.

Subhadeep Ghosh, the scientist in charge of the CMFRI regional center in Visakhapatnam, told The Hindu that he believes his institute is the first in the world to achieve success in mass breeding of pompano, a move likely to advance efforts to begin large-scale farming of pompano in tanks, ponds, and cages.

The Indian pompano (Trachinotus mookalee), belonging to the family Carangidae, are found in 15 countries in the Indo-West Pacific region. 

Ghosh said that the fish is considered very promising for aquaculture development due to its fast growth rate, easy adaptability to culture conditions, quick acceptance of artificial feed, pleasant appearance, good meat quality and a favored status amongst consumers. In addition, the fish contains high levels of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids – nutrients that have proven to have numerous health benefits.

The fish is already farmed sporadically on the west and east coasts of India. However, the species is known for its low reproduction levels in the wild, making it difficult to successfully breed them in large numbers in captivity, according to Ghosh.

The CMFRI institute started working on the mass breeding program in 2011. After some initial success, the program had a setback in 2014 when it lost all the broodstock due to a massive cyclone that hit Visakhapatnam coast.

In 2015, the institute restarted its research program, stocking its land-based recirculating aquaculture system with pompano. Mass-scale seed production was achieved in early 2017 after Ghosh’s team experimented extensively with manipulating water quality and feeding protocols. The process has been replicated at the institute’s Veraval Regional Centre in Gujarat, according to Ghosh.

Ghosh said the next step for the center will be attempts to raise hatchery-produced pompano in open-sea floating cages for grow-out. If successful, pompano will “present enormous scope for aquaculture business opportunity in the near future for Indian fish farmers through species diversification,” Ghosh said.

Reporting from Mumbai, India

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