The Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) has successfully bred grey mullet (Madavai) for the first time in India in line with the Government’s push on increasing fish production under its ‘blue revolution’ mission.
Grey mullet is a high-value brackish water fish and a preferred choice of consumers fetching a market price of Rs 350 to Rs 500 per kg. Fast growth rates, omnivorous feeding habits and acceptance of formulated pellet feed make this fish an ideal candidate not only for brackish water farming, but for freshwater and marine farming.
The director of CIBA, Dr KK Vijayan, highlighted the versatility of the fish saying it can be farmed in diverse systems such as mono culture, poly culture and integrated multitrophic aquaculture mode (IMTA), with a potential output of 4 tonnes per hectare/crop.
Plans to breed grey mullet began in 2015, with successful breeding and larval production achieved using pond-reared broodstock in 2016/17. One of the challenges with breeding grey mullet in captivity is its short annual reproductive period which is limited to just a few weeks during the monsoon season.
Brackish water is an underused resource in the country and CIBA has made impressive progress in seed production of various brackish water food fish species such as Asian seabass, milkfish, pearlspot, whiskered catfish and also ornamental species such as spotted scat, moon fish and orange chromide.