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Retail Chains Triggering a Tiger Prawn Culture

by Ellen Hardy
12 March 2008, at 12:00am

INDIA - Tiger prawns are slowly carving a niche in retail outlets and the potential for aquaculture production is growing.

According to buisness news wire Sify, Tiger prawns or jumbo prawns are one of the latest products to get shipped into the deep freezers of retail outlets.

They are cultivated along India's 8500 km coastline in maritime states like Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Though aquaculture is used to breed fish ranging from rohu to catla to crabs and pomfret, in India, it is primarily associated with prawns.

"It is a four-step process — from the hatchery to the retail floor," says Kamlesh Gupta, chairman of Aqua Alliance, an aquaculture company. The foremost aspect of aquaculture involves fishermen collecting broodstock or parent prawn from the sea.

"Once the broodstock, which weighs 140 gm and is about 11-15 inches in length, has been obtained, it is transferred to a captive environment in a tank in the hatchery for mating," explains Gupta.

Eventually, between four and eight lakh eggs are spawned by the female stock which are raised and then moved to rearing ponds. On reaching the sub-adult stage, they are frozen and packed into polypouches and either sent to wholesale and retail stores or mostly exported to the US, Japan, and the European Union.

India produces around 1.2 lakh tonnes of tiger prawns each year, of which more than 95 per cent is exported mainly to Japan, the US, and the European Union.

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Ellen Hardy