Fifteen tonnes of seabass have been produced from one hectare Photo: MPEDAFifteen tonnes of seabass have been produced from one hectare Photo: MPEDA

A demonstration farm of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), which works under the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), has produced 15 tonnes of seabass from just one hectare, an initiative that could help encourage farmers to grow this fish as an alternative to shrimp aquaculture.

The farm, established at Karaikal in Union Territory of Pondicherry, had stocked seabass seeds produced from the hatchery in a one hectare area. In a period of just 10 months, 15 tonnes of fish with an average body weight of 1.2 to 1.5 kg were raised.

“Seabass is a boss of diversified aquaculture,” said MPEDA chairman, Shri K S Srinivas. “It will induce aquaculture farmers to diversify their cultivation choices, especially as an alternative to shrimp farming.”

The fishes were fed with artificial floating pellet feeds and the food conversion ratio was found to be extremely encouraging at 1:1.8. The production cost was Rs. 300 per kg and the fishes were sold at farm gate price of Rs. 420 to 450 per kg.

The RGCA functions as the R&D arm of MPEDA and is involved in research on diversified species for aquaculture such as seabass, mud crab, GIFT, pompano and cobia.

RGCA is operating a three million fry/fingerlings capacity seabass hatchery at Thoduvai in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district, the first of its kind in India. So far 18 million seeds have been produced and supplied to the farming community across the country as an alternative species to shrimp aquaculture.

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