The production of Karimeen or Pearl Spot fish, globally known for its delectable taste and high-yielding market value, has got a major boost with the Multispecies Aquaculture Complex (MAC) of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in Kochi developing facilities for its commercial-scale breeding and seed production.
This facilitates offering a lucrative alternative to fish farmers to grow it round-the-year.
MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas, while inaugurating the sale of the first batch of Karimeen seed produced from MAC here on Friday, said the commercial production would enable farmers to get good quality seeds throughout the year and enhance the production of the fish in the state.
In 2010 the Kerala government had declared Karimeen (Etroplus suratensis) as the State Fish to protect this costly fish from over-exploitation, considering its food and economic value and a major attraction of culinary tourism.
Cultured in traditional ponds in the state, it commands a high price of Rs 500-600 a kilo.
"The production of Karimeen should be substantially boosted in order to make it a candidate species for export. Nowadays, the farmers are mainly depending on wild caught seeds for culture.
Too much dependency on the seeds from the wild will lead to over-exploitation," Srinivas said in a release.
"To overcome this, MPEDA has developed facilities for commercial-scale breeding and seed production for Pearl Spot at its Multispecies Aquaculture Complex at Vallarpadam," he added.
Pearl Spot is an indigenous fish extensively found along the east and south-west coasts of Peninsular India.
It is an important candidate species for aquaculture in ponds, in both brackish water and freshwater.