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Submitted by:


Reg.No. : J4-00950-2011,

2nd semester of M.F.Sc,

Dept. of Aquaculture,

COF, Veraval


Title Page No.
Name of the assignment
Indian scenario
Status of finfish culture
Coastal fish farm developement
Candidate spp. for culture
Grey mullet
Milk fish
Sea bass
Sea bream
Rabbit fish
Napoleon Wrasse and Coral Trout

Introduction :

Aquaculture remains a growing, vibrant and important production sector for high protein food. The reported global production of food fish from aquaculture, including finfishes, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals for human consumption, reached 52.5 million tonnes in 2008. The contribution of aquaculture to the total production of capture fisheries and aquaculture continued to grow, rising from 34.5 percent in 2006 to 36.9 percent in 2008. In the period 1970-2008, the production of food fish from aquaculture increased at an average annual rate of 8.3 percent, while the world population grew at an average of 1.6 percent per year. The combined result of development in aquaculture worldwide and the expansion in global population is that the average annual per capita supply of food fish from aquaculture for human consumption has increased by ten times, from 0.7 kg in 1970 to 7.8 kg in 2008, at an average rate of 6.6 percent per year.

Production from aquaculture is mostly destined for human consumption. Globally, aquaculture accounted for 45.7 percent of the world's fish food production for human consumption in 2008, up from 42.6 percent in 2006. In China the world's largest aquaculture producer, 80.2 percent of fish food consumed in 2008 was derived from aquaculture, up from 23.6 percent in 1970. Aquaculture production supplied the rest of the world with 26.7 percent of its food fish, up from 4.8 percent in 1970. Despite the long tradition of aquaculture practices in a few countries over many centuries, aquaculture in the global context is a young food production sector that has grown rapidly in the last 50 years or so. World aquaculture output has increased substantially, from less than 1 million tonnes of annual production in 1950 to the 52.5 million tonnes reported for 2008, increasing at three times the rate of world meat production (2.7 percent from poultry and livestock together) in the same period. In contrast to world capture fisheries production, which has almost stopped growing since the mid-1980s, the aquaculture sector maintained an average annual growth rate of 8.3 percent worldwide (or 6.5 percent excluding China) between 1970 and 2008. The annual growth rate in world aquaculture production between 2006 and 2008 was 5.3 percent in volume terms. The growth rate in the rest of the world (6.4 percent) from 2006 to 2008 was higher than that for China (4.7 percent).

India has a long coastline of 8,129 km extending over nine maritime states and the island EEZ area of 2.02 million km2 and a shelf of 0.512 million km2 that makes it possible for one of the richest multispecies fisheries in the world. In addition to the vast coastline, it has 8.5 million ha of derelict inland saline area. But yet India's mariculture progress has been very slow. The slow progress is due to the collapse of the shrimp farming industry because of environmental concern and disease problems. Although the present attention is towards diversification of fish species other than shrimp, the commercial venture are constrained due to unreliable wild seeds and lack of technology for commercial marine finfish hatchery seed production.

Marine fin-fishes seed production and farming has been well developed in the Asia-Pacific Region and is expanding very fast. Over the last twenty years, marine finfish aquaculture, predominant involved are China, Indonesia, Taiwan Province of China, Japan, Philippines, Republic of Korea & Vietnam. A large number of finfish species are farmed in cages and yet there is a significant reliance on wild caught young ones for farming of groupers. The main species farmed in brackish water are barramundi or Asian sea-bass (Lates calcarifer ) and milk fish (Chanos chanos ). In inshore marine cage farming, the major farmed species include Seriola spp., groupers (Epinephilus spp. ) and cobia (Rachycentron canadum). The Japanese amberjack Seriola quinqueradiata contributes upto 17% of marine production in Japan amounting to 140,000-160,000 t annum since 1980's. Seabreams are the mainstay of finfish mariculture production.

Grouper culture has been expanding rapidly in Asia, driven by high prices in live fish markets of Hong-Kong & China. It is mainly dependent on wild collected seed. Cobia, a species of much interest for tropical marine finfish farming aquaculture, has become a global commodity in the same way as salmon has become a global commodity in temperate aquaculture. Most production currently comes from China & Taiwan Province of China and totaled around 20,000 tonnes in 2003. Production of this fast growing yet to expand rapidly in Asia. Milk fish is traditionally cultured in the Philippines. Indonesia is a major producer of seed & contributes to small scale hatcheries.

Indian Fisheries

 Global position

3rd in Fisheries 2nd in Aquaculture

 Contribution of Fisheries to GDP (%)


 Contribution to Agril. GDP (%)


 Per capita fish availability (Kg.)


 Annual Export earnings (Rs. In Crore)


 Employment in sector (million)


Some Facts

 Present fish Production

6.4 mmt


3.4 mmt


3.0 mmt

 Potential fish production

8.4 mmt

 Fish seed production

21,000 million fry







Indian scenario:

In India marine finfish aquaculture is only an emerging sector & the most common cultivable marine finfishes include the Siganus spp., L, calcarifer, Epinephilus spp. and sea breams and cobia. Currently their mariculture is almost entirely supported from the seed collected from the wild, expect for seabass.

One of the milestones in the seed production of marine finfishes was the development and hatchery technology for commercial seed production of seabass. Protocols for captive broodstock development, induced maturation, breeding and larval rearing have been standardized. The success obtained by CIBA and the mass production of seed by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture in Tamil Nadu set up by MPEDA can lead to commercial farming of sea bass in the country.

Another milestone in marine finfish breeding is the successful brood stock development of the grouper (Epinephilus tauvina) in captivity. The grouper brood stock was developed by rearing fingerling in the size range 90-200 mm collected from wild. These were developed into healthy female brood stock by giving them feed enriched with vitamins & minerals. Simultaneously a few of them were administered male hormone methyl testosterone for sex reversal to males. Mature spermiating males were developed by this technique. However, successful commercial level seed production methodologies for groupers still remain to be developed & standardized.

A number of experiments on culture of marine/brackishwater finfishes were done by CMFRI since 1980's. Significant achievements were made in the coastal pond culture of milkfish & grey mullets at Mandapam, Tuticorin, Madars, Calicut, Narkkal and Mangalore by CMFRI from 1970's. Pen culture experiment carried out at Mandapam and Tuticorin with milkfish & grey mullets at a stocking density of 50,000/ha yielded 400 to 800 kg per ha. Cage culture of rabbit fish ( Siganus canaliculatus , S. javas) ; groupers (E. tauvina, E. hexagonatus) and were done at Mandapam. Experiments conducted on the cage culture of grouper, E. tauvina in fixed net cages at Mandapam.

The lack of commercial scale availability of hatchery produced seed is the major bottleneck for any large scale venture of marine finfish farming. The availability of seeds from wild is often unpredictable & hence farming based on wild collected seed not be a sustainable venture. Hence the development & standardization of seed production for few spp. belonging to groupers, siganids, breams & cobia should receive research priority. It is felt that the development of commercial hatcheries for ready supply of seed is the primary step for the development & expansion of marine finfish farming in India. The lack of frontline demonstration of large scale farming systems like open sea/coastal cage farming is the another constraint in this sector. For the 1st time in India a marine cage was successfully launched & operated at Visakhapatnam, in the east coast of India by CMFRI. Recently five cages for brood stock development of marine finfishes were installed at Mandapam. It is felt that development of broodstocks in cage, hatchery production protocols of high value finfish such as grouper & cobia and sea cage farming ventures will pave the way for India to develop commercial level marine finfish farming in the immediate future.

Status of finfish culture:

Marine finfish culture which has been an established practice in various parts of India is now undergoing rapid development in order to (i) utilize the extensive areas which are now unutilized but which have possibilities for aquaculture development (ii) to increase the production of animal protein to meet the need of fast growing population (iii) to develop special market oriented products for export & consequently for earning foreign exchange (iv) creating employment opportunities (Pillai, 1972; Qasim, 1975; Silas 1976). Although traditional culture of marine finfishes has been practiced in estuarine & coastal areas of Kerala, Goa & West Bengal, the production rate was not high. However, traditional methods of farming, suitably modified have shown promising results in certain maritime states. Potential mariculture sites, especially for open sea cage fish farming has been identified at Andaman Sea, northeastern arm of Indian Ocean, bounded on the west by the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

With its coral lagoons, and protected deep water bays, its provides optimum environmental conditions for finfish farming using sea-cages. Commercial marine fish hatchery has already been established near Port Blair at Andaman & is in the process of initiating finfish seed (sea-bass & grouper) production for its grow-out operation in sea cages. When operational, this will be the 1st of its kind commercial marine fish farming venture in India. The sea-bass (Lates calcarifer) & grouper (E. fuscoguttaus, E. Polyphekadion, E. coioides etc., are considered potential candidates for commercial farming of India.

Coastal fish farm development :

Recently at Mandapam, the fish farm has been reconstructed & a total number of 28 ponds spread over the total area of 15 ha have been developed for experimental work on finfish farming. The bunds of the ponds were turfed with locally available grass to keep the bund intact (Bensam, 1985). At Tuticorin, a total area of 2.5 ha has been developed, at Karapad into 12 ponds for the culture of finfishes, prawns & crabs during 1972. At Madras, a total extent of 93 acres of salt water area, at Muttukkadu about 35 km south of Madras was acquired during 1982, from the Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Of this, an area of 13 ha has been developed into ponds for experimental programmes by the CMFRI. At Calicut, a total number of 13 polyethylene lined ponds covering a water spread area of 0.4 ha has been developed (Lazarus & Nandakumar , 1987). At Kakdwip, & Bokhali in West Bengal & Puri in Orissa, the fish farm construction was made by CMFRI (CIFRI, Reports, 1962). At Kakinada, the experimental fish farm was developed by the CIFE (CIFE, Reports, 1978). The Tamil Nadu State Fisheries Department has developed the brackish water fish farm at Santhome, Madras (Evangeline, 1968).

The following are some candidate spp. that are culturable in potential areas of India:

  1. Grey mullet (Mugil cephalus ):


Grey mullet, Mugil cephalus, is one of the most widely distributed food fishes in the world (McDonough et al., 2003). In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the fish, locally known as Biah or Wagena, is considered as one of the most highly demanded fish. However, it was recently recognized that the landings of this species have drastically decreased and its presence in the local fish markets became rare (MAF, 2003). In captivity, grey mullets do not spawn spontaneously and that could be achieved successfully by hormone administration (Lee and Tamaru, 1988, El-Gharabawy and Assem, 2006).

Biology :

  • Euryhaline, eurytharmic, predominately detritus feeders.

  • They are farmed in tropical & subtropical waters of the world.

  • Spawning period are Nov-Jan.

  • Fecundity 16 lakh to 72 lakhs in the fishes of total length size ranges 410 mm to 662 mm

The grey mullet (Mugil cephalus, Liza macrolepis, L. tade & L.parsia) are polycultured with other compatible spp. of fish & shrimps. Under extensive brackish water pond culture conditions the production average 2.0-2.5 tonnes/ha/year during 8-9 months grow-out period. Intensive farming restricted due to non-availability of hatchery seed.

Broodstock and spawning

Wild grey mullet fingerlings averaging 4 g body weight (bw) were introduced in 2002 from Egypt and grown in indoor 40 tonne circular concrete tanks at ACAAB. The fish were stocked in freshwater and after an acclimation period of seven days the water salinity in the tanks was gradually raised by 8 ppt/day until the fish were completely acclimatised to the natural seawater salinity of Abu Al Abyad Isalnd (55 ppt). During the grow-out period the fish were fed floating marine fish feed (45% protein and 10% lipid). In September 2008 a number of six years old fish were selected and conditioned by feeding with 6 mm pelleted feed supplemented with 1% fish oil (DHA 20-22%, EPA 4%) and 0.5% vitamin mix and vitamin E. In the first week of December 63 ripe females averaging 1.03 kg with average cannulated oocytes diameter of 427 μm, and 126 males averaging 0.83 kg with running milt were transferred to indoor 30 tonne concrete oval shape and 36 tonne concrete rectangular spawning tanks at a rate of 1 male : 2 females. Clove oil (4-Allyl-2-methoxyphenol) in a dose of 0.01 ppm was used to anaesthetize the fish during transportation, cannulation and injection processes. The selected broodstock was acclimated to 37 ppt salinity by gradually adding freshwater over a period of seven days.








Eggs/ female


Eggs/g body weight

Fertilised eggs (x103)

Hatched larvae


































The fish were induced with carp pituitary (CP, 20mg/kg body weight), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, 1000 IU/kg bw) and tilapia pituitary, extracted from local tilapia stocks (TP, 20 mg/kg body weight) administered as priming injections to four groups of females and each was followed 24 hours later by a resolving injection of luteinizing-hormone-releasing-hormoneanalogue (LH-RHa) at dose of 200 μg/kg bw. Spawning took place 24 hours following the resolving hormonal injection at an average water temperature of 20.8 ± 1.08°C. All hormonal applications were successful in inducing spawning and females receiving carp pituitary as a priming injection achieved the highest fecundity (257.28 eggs/g bw). This was followed by the females injected with the priming dose of tilapia pituitary (155.34 eggs/g bw). The priming dose of HCG produced the lowest fecundity (58.25 eggs/g body weight). Use of a combination of carp pituitary and HCG as a priming injection improved spawning (Table 1). These fecundities are very much below those reported elsewhere for captive mullets (Nash and Koningsberger, 1986, El-Gharabawy and Assem, 2006). The low fecundity values obtained in this study could be attributed to the hyper saline conditions (55 ppt) under which the fish were grown from the fingerling stage until they attained maturity. The spawning season in this trial was observed to be very short extending only for 17 days. For the aquaculture of this species to succeed, a plan for a consistent supply of fingerlings should be developed and thus it is recommended to study the possibility of its induction out of the spawning season (El-Greisy and Shaheen, 2007).

Recently, mullets (family Mugilidae ) have the mainstay of finfish culture in coastal & estuarine impoundments for centuries. In the vallis of Mediterranean lagoons ( especially in Italy), in the so called coastal 'harbour culture' in North China, in the bheris of Gangetic estuaries in the Indian sub-contitent, in the tambaks of Java (Indonesia) & in the coastal fish ponds of Hawaii the grey mullet formed an important group of culture species.

  1. Milk fish (Chanos chanos):


The milkfish, the only species of the family Chanidae has a wide distribution, though not to the same as grey mullet. The fish is either monoculture or polyculture with compatible species of fish & shrimps. Hatchery technology is not available. The wild fry of 10-15 mm size are nursery reared to 40-100 mm in two months before stocking in grow out ponds. Several grow-out experiments have been carried out by research centre to farm milk fish in ponds, cages and pens. Under pond culture conditions, the farmers produce 2.5-3.0 tonnes/ha during a grow-out period of 8-9 months. The stocking density ranges from 3000-5000 ind./ha. Some shrimp farmers use milkfish seeds in the effluent treatment ponds.

Biology :

  • Euryhaline spp.

  • Temp. (optm.) 20-33°c. They become sluggish below 20°c & mortality occurs at 12°c.

  • Fecundity avg. 2 million/kg body weight.

Production trends

Milkfish (Chanos chanos) remains a popular commodity in Indonesia and the Philippines: production of milkfish increased from 514,666 tonnes in 2004 to 542,842 tonnes in 2005. However, value of production decreased from USD 627 million to USD 552 million over he same period representing a decrease in price from around USD 1.20 to USD 1.00 per kg.

  1. Sea-bass (Lates calcarifer):

Introduction: e

The sea-bass, family Centropomidae is a potential candidate for farming in India, because of its fast growth rate, tolerance to wide environmental conditions & its demand in domestic & export markets. It is distributed along the East and South West Coast of India. The limited seed availability restricts the culture to the months of May-August in West Bengal. Monoculture is very rare. Normally it is polyculture with other fish and

Shellfish spp. Some farmers use the tilapia, Oreochronis mossambicus as a supplementary feed during 7-12 months grow-out period. The harvesting size is 700g-1kg. Most of the culture systems are extensive. The farmers achieved production of about 2.2 tonnes/ha/year.

Recently, one of the research centre (CIBA) has succeeded in the hatchery breeding and larval rearing of sea-bass.

Biology :

  • Euryhaline spp., occurs in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia

  • The adult sea-bass is a voracious carnivore, but juveniles are omnivorous

  • One of the major problems in the culturing them in pond is their cannibalistic habits.

  • In nature, sea-bass spawns all the year around with the peak season from April-August.

  • Fecundity ranges from 2-17 million eggs, depending upon the size of spawner.

Production trends

Barramundi production stayed relatively steady at 26,584 tonnes, up slightly from 25,399 tonnes in 2004. Thailand remains the largest producer of aquacultured barramundi. Total value of production increased slightly from USD 65.08 million to USD 68.52 million Average price remained steady at about USD 2.50 — 2.60 per kilogram.

Sand Sea bass (Psammoperca welgenensis).


Sand sea bass is a tropical species found in Indonesian waters, known locally as ikan mata kucing ('cat eyes'). Its body shape is much like the Asian seabass although it is darker in colour, which is why it is also known as as gelam or kakap hitam (black sea bass) on Batam-Riau Island. Sand sea bass are a much smaller, reaching a maximum weight of 1kg. They are protandrous hermaphrodites, maturing first asmales at around 75-100g then changing sex with mature females appearing at around 150g. Sand sea bass are a demersal species with a schooling habit. Although the sand sea bass is still abundant in Indonesian waters, especially around Batam, wild stocks are likely to come under increasing pressure as high demand has seen its market price increase, which is likely to lead to more intensive fishing efforts. The price of live sand sea bass in Singapore is around S$ 15/kg. Anticipating a decline in wild stocks, RCMD have been developing techniques to produce sand sea bass seed as basis for supporting an alternative, farmed supply.

Broodstock management and breeding

Broodstock can be obtained both from wild capture and from fish on-grown in net cages. As many as 10 fish/m3 are kept in circular fiberglass tanks of five ton capacity, with sex ratio of 1 male : 1 female. A flow-through water system is used during the rearing period with around 400% water exchange per day in the broodstock tanks. Broodstock are fed 5% of their body weight daily in fresh trash fish and threes times per week with squid. Vitamin C and E are also given once per week to help stimulate gonad maturation. Environmental manipulation is also conducted to stimulate broodstock to spawn. In RCMD, sand sea bass broodstock spawn naturally every month, following a lunar rhythm and in most cases, spawning occurs over a period of 2-5 days. Spawning takes place at night, mostly around 22.00-24.00. The fecundity is normally around 50,000 — 100,000 eggs per female.

In India technology is not developed.

  1. Sea-bream (Sparus aurata):


The gilthead sea bream is a highly priced species in the Mediterranean and neighbouring countires, and because of diminishing catches from open waters there is considerable interest in its intensive culture.

The large scale production of marine finfish was pioneered by Japanese, with the red sea bream (Pagrus major ). The expertise developed at British and French led to the setting up of the 1st commercial hatcheries of the gilthead sea bream in early 1980's.

Biology :

  • Euryhaline, carnivorous spp., show protandric hermaphoroditism.

  • The natural breeding season in the Mediterranean region is between October & December , when water temp. varies from 13-17°c.

  • Fecundity 500,000 eggs/kg.

Economics: are not available.

  1. Grouper (Epinephilus tauvina):


Grouper belonging to the genus Epinephelus ( family Serranidae ) are highly priced fish in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East and Ceridian region. The high-valued food fish species groupers are widely distributed in the costal water of India. More than 42 spp. have been recorded along the East and West coasts of India and in the islands in the Bay of Bengal. Among these the most preferred spp., for farming, E. coioides, E. fuscoguttaus, E. malbaricus, E. Polyphekadion and E. tauvina have abundant nursery grounds located along the Gulf of Mannar, coral lagoons of Lakshadweep and in the water of Andaman and Nicobar islands. A hatchery in Chaungtha at Ayeyawady

Division is under construction and it is operational in 2003. Experiments of induced sea bass breeding were carried out 2002 with wild caught brood fishes. However, the results were not significant due to imperfect maturity of brood fish and also due to lack of experience. The CMFRI has carried out experimental cage culture of E. tauvina using seeds collected from the wild. However, a reliable hatchery and grow-out production technology has not yet been developed in India. An entrepreur has initiated attempts to set up a commercial hatchery and grow-out production facilities for grouper at Andaman Islands. The anticipated production is about 200 tonnes/year. Another business venture has availed the wild groupers for fattening in sea-cages in Andaman Islands for marketing alive to neighboring countries.

Biology :

  • Hardy spp. which can stand rapid change in salinity between 2.5 and 45.5 ppt, optm. Salinity: 15-26 ppt

  • Carnivorous, spawn throughout the year, show protogynous hermaphoditism

  • Commercial grouper culture is carried out in floating cages on a small scale in Malaysia, Singapore & Hong-Kong.

Production trends :

Global production of groupers increased from 59,146 to 65,362 tonnes from 2004 to 2005, an increase of 11% (Figure3). (Note that this analysis includes countries outside the Asia-Pacific region, however the bulk of production is from Asia-Pacific countries). Despite this increase in reported production, total value of production decreased by 12%, from USD 208.5 million to USD 183.6 million over the same period (Figure 3). This may reflect increasing market saturation by farmed product, particularly by some lower-value grouper species, and consequent price decreases.

6) Eel ( Anguilla anguilla ):


Eels (family: Anguillidae) are considered a delicacy in some countries. Taiwan has become a major exporter of cultured eels to Japan. The most common method of eel culture is in pond farms.

Biology :

  • They are known to be catadromous sp.

  • The elevers are available at Feb-May.

Economics: are not available.

7) Rabbit fish ( Siganus canaliculatus) :


Rabbit fishes belonging to the family Siganidae include a group of potentially important aquaculture species occurring in the Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean, Red Sea & Eastern Mediterranean regions.


  • Predominantly herbivorous feeding habits, fast growth & high price in the market.

  • In captivity show Omnivorous

  • Juvenile available Feb to May

  • Spawning season Jan or Feb to April

  • Salinity 17-37 ppt

The long established system of commercial culture of Siganids appear to be as subsidiary spp. Or in monoculture in brackish water ponds in the Philippines or in embanked lagoons in Mauritius in combination with oysters. Experimental culture of rabbit fish in floating cages & pens, ponds & raceway system has been attempted in a no. of countries including India.

Economics: are not available.

8) Yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata ):


The yellowtail, Seriola quinqueradiata (family : Carangidae) is the only carangid that

Contributes significantly to aquaculture production at present, and its culture is restricted to Japan.

Biology :

  • Japanese name 'hamachi' originally referred to young one-year old yellowtail,

  • Yellowtail are migratory fish which move into the offshore waters from March to May where they are spawn.

Culture system :

Originally culture in diked coastal lagoons or lakes & specially floating cage culture system are very famous.


There are very few detailed records of the economics of yellowtail culture, but like all other types of farming, the cost and earnings are very much dependent on local conditions, the technology employed, and the skill and experience of the farmers.

9) Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and Coral Trout (Plectropomus leopardus):

Canulating female C. undulatus broodstock coral trout broodstock (Plectropomus leopardus) from the Gondol

Research Institute for Mariculture

The Research Institute for Mariculture - Gondol, Bali, Indonesia — has successfully bred apoleon wrasse, a premium species in the live reef fish market, commanding prices as high as US$100 per kg. Captive breeding of Napoleon wrasse has long been one of the "holy grails" of marine fish culture and NACA and the APMFAN. Many others have tried, but this is the first reported success.

The spawning took place around December 2003, via combined hormone treatment and environmental control. Larviculture is still at a very early stage and survival rate of the larvae is currently low. The larvae have a small mouth so first feeding is still the main issue to be tackled. SS-rotifer seems to be a suitable first feed for Napoleon wrasse.

So far (April 17, 2004) around 100 small juveniles have survived at around 2-3 inches. The growth rate for this species is very slow; at 5 months old the fish only reach a maximum of 3 inches. However, slow growth is a common issue when a new species is bred for the first time, and will likely improve as the nutritional needs of this species are better understood.

Researchers at Gondol have also had some success in breeding coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus). The spawning took place in January 2004 and by April 2004 around 100fingerlings of 2 inches are kept in the research facility. Similar to Napoleon wrasse, coral trout also have small mouths and require very small first feed, such as SS-rotifers.

10) Cobia (Rancchyodon canadum ):


Cobia culture is expanding throughout the world, notably in China and Vietnam. Cobia have an extensive natural distribution, grow quickly, and can feed on artificial diets. Under culture conditions, Cobia can reach 3-4 kg in body weight in one year and 8-10 kg in two years. Research on seed production and grow out culture of cobia in Vietnam began in 1997-1998.

In India at Mandapam regional centre of CMFRI, broodstock development of Cobia in sea cages was achieved by feeding with broodstock diets. Broodstock development, Induced breeding and larval production of cobia, was achieved for the first time in India in year 2010.

Cobia a species of much interest for tropical marine finfish Aquaculture has become a global commodity, in the same way as salmon has become a global commodity in temperate Aquaculture. Most production currently comes from China & Taiwan Province of China & totaled around 20,000 tonnes in 2003.

Broodstock and spawning

Broodstock can be acquired by purchasing wild fish or by collecting dominant individuals from grow-out operations (selecting broodstock from different parental lines to avoid inbreeding). Most fish more than two years in age have fully developed ovaries, but it is best to collect three-year old broodstock if possible. Conditioning of broodstock usually starts some 3-4 months before anticipated spawning, by feeding with trash fish, squid and swimming crab supplemented with mineral vitamins and 17α-methyltestosterone. The amount of trash fish fed is about 4 — 5% body weight per day. Mature fish are spawned in dedicated spawning tanks or sometimes in floating net cages. Spawning tanks are 60m3 in volume with a depth of 2.5m. Female broodstock are administered with an injection of LRH-e or LRH-a at a dosage of 20 & μg/kg female, with males receiving half of this dose. There isn't a need to inject all females but only one or two pairs. Spawning of cobia usually takes place at night, although it occasionally also happens during the day. After spawning, fertilized eggs are separated out and collected using seawater at 35-36%. Sinking eggs should be discarded. Eggs are stocked in the incubation tank at a density of 2000-3000 eggs/ litre. The incubation tank is 500m3 in volume maintained with light aeration. Water exchange is carried out at 200-300% per day, using an input and overflow pipe system.

Biology :

  • Fecundity : 1.9 million egg/female.

  • The 1:2 ratio of female: male are taken.

  • The incubation period is 22 hrs & temp. 28-30°c.

Production trends :

Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) is an emerging species of considerable interest to farmers in the Asia-Pacific region. Presently, China and Taiwan Province of China are the only two countries in the Asia-Pacific region to report production of cobia. The apparent dramatic increase in cobia production in 2003 is likely due to China to USD 41.2 million . Price remained relatively steady at around USD 1.80 per kilogram.


Extension survey on the occurrence & abundance of cultivable seed resources information are still lacking in some area, which are essential prerequisites for large scale culture of marine fin fishes. Although there is still room for further improvement, especially with regard to cost effectiveness, present-day hatchery technology for marine fish spp, has proven to be widely applicable, in terms of both geographic location & fish spp.

Potential of coastal aquaculture in India is immense, stringent regulation to protect the environment & lack of balanced view and regulations on this important sectors affect the progress of marine fish farming. Sustainable marine fish farming, could be achieved in India through integrated farming, sea-cage culture systems, polyculture and by establishing reliable hatchery technology.


  1. CMFRI bulletin 44, part two, March 1990: paper 55: A Review of marine fin fish cult. Research in India.

  2. CMFRI: Course manual- 30.12.2008 to 19.01.2009

  3. Potential of marine fish farming in India- James CM.

  4. Review of some aspects of marine fish larviculture

Patrick Sorgeloos, Marlene Dehasque, Philippe Dhert & Patrick Lavens. ICES mar. sci. symp, 201: 138-142, 1995.

  1. Aquaculture principles and practices by T.V.R.PILLAY.

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