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ICAR-CMFRI Initiated Study on Cage Farming of ‘Ghol’ Fish, says Director

The most expensive fish in India, 'ghol,' also known as black spotted croaker, may soon be produced in cages. According to ICAR-CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan, the Visakhapatnam Regional Centre of ICAR - Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has already begun investigations on capture-based culture of 'ghol' fish.

Shivam Dwivedi
Open sea cage farming began in four locations in 2003: Visakhapatnam, Balasore (Odisha), Chennai & Kochi
Open sea cage farming began in four locations in 2003: Visakhapatnam, Balasore (Odisha), Chennai & Kochi

CMFRI Director visited town to dedicate to the nation the indigenously designed Recirculatory Aquaculture System (RAS) for finfish nursery rearing at the CMFRI Regional Centre.

In the international market, 'Ghol,' scientifically known as protonibea dicanthus, fetches a very high price. Its air bladder, which is utilized in the wine industry, is quite expensive. It costs between 40,000 and 50,000 per kilogramme.

At the inauguration function Gopalakrishnan said that while it is available in our oceans, it is not extensively spread. The Vizag centre is also developing black pomfret and silver pomfret through cage farming, both of which attract a high premium on the open market, as per media sources.

The CMRI Vizag centre, India's forerunner for open sea cage farming, has demarcated areas suitable for cage farming in the sea along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, and Yanam. In 2003, open sea cage farming began in four locations: Visakhapatnam, Balasore (Odisha), Chennai, and Kochi. But, in 2005, the Vizag centre was the first to successfully harvest 3.5 tonnes of fish through cage cultivation.

"Cage breeding helps to produce disease-free, high-quality seedlings by avoiding contact with other species. The technology is now being applied to nurseries. While the cost of producing 1 kg of fish is roughly 210, the farm gate price commands between 380 and 400, providing the fish farmer a good return," he stated.

The CMFRI Visakhapatnam centre is also in charge of stock monitoring and is a pioneer in reviewing stock status on a regular basis. It was instrumental in the designation of approximately 72 species, which aided the State Fisheries Agency in developing fisheries management strategies.

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