Also known as black sea bream and goldsilk sea bream, the fish is known for its excellent meat quality and fetches ₹ 450 to 500 per kg in the domestic market. Locally called as karutha yeri, the fish is an excellent species for mariculture owing to its faster growth rate, strong resistance to diseases and ability to cope up with wide variations in environmental parameters such as salinity and temperature.
The breakthrough, achieved at the Karwar Research Centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (ICAR-CMFRI), is expected to open up enormous scope for the country’s mariculture ventures in near future through species diversification, said Dr A Gopalakrishnan, director of CMFRI.
“With the development of hatchery technology for picnic seabream, Indian mariculture is poised for a new surge with exponential increase in marine finfish production,” he said.
“The next task of the institute is to standardise the farming protocol of the fish as no record of breeding and aquaculture of this fish is available in in the country,” he said.
“India targets 4 to 5 million metric tonnes of fish production in the next 10 years from mariculture. Species diversification for mariculture is primarily aimed at achieving this target by enhancing the marine cage farming system across the coastal states of the country,” he added.
The picnic seabream is the seventh marine finfish which has been successfully bred by CMFRI and it took around three years for the team to develop the seed production technology.
Previously, the institute has succeeded in broodstock development of species such as like cobia, silver pompano, Indian pompano, orange-spotted grouper, pink ear emperor and John’s snapper.
CMFRI is happy to transfer these technologies to those interested in commercial production of juveniles, said Dr Gopalakrishnan.