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Common Carp: A Potential Species for Employment Generation in Kashmir Valley

Sajid Maqsood*, Prabjeet Singh, Munir Hassan Samoon and Gohar Bilal Wani

Faculty of Fisheries, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology-Kashmir.

*Corresponding author E-mail : simplysajid@gmail.com.

Introduction

The common carp (Bangkok Strain), Cyprinus carpio is one of the most widely farmed fish globally. In India, it is one of the four fish species commonly farmed, either singly or in combination with the Indian Major carps (IMC;s), catla, rohu and mrigal. But in temperate climatic condition of Kashmir, it can be culture with indigenous Schizothorax spp (Snow trout) under composite fish culture and with Grass carp and Silver carp under polyculture technique. These carp species cultured using diverse aquaculture technique having the compatibility with the temperate climatic conditions of Kashmir have got the great potential for generating employment among the rural population of Kashmir valley.

Common carp introduced in Kashmir waters in 1956 ranks first vis-à-vis its availability through capture fishery sector. However, due to increasing population and growing awareness that capture fisheries are exhaustible, attention is warranted towards finding possibilities offered by aquaculture through semi-intensive/extensive techniques for providing alternative animal protein in the valley.

Common carp, an exotic fish is the most suitable species for culture in small seasonal water bodies and pond of different sizes. The fish has been categorized as eurythermal i.e, it can withstand wide range of temperature fluctuation, so it is well suited for culture in the climatic conditions of Kashmir Valley. Common carp is a omnivorous, capable of withstanding fluctuation in the water levels and other adverse environmental factors. Besides, common carp has an inviting appearance and a delectable taste, which imparts a remarkable market acceptance.

In rural areas, youth can take up the breeding and rearing of common carp. Kashmir valley supports a large population of sheep. In aquaculture, sheep manuring is reported for enhancing carp growth (Jhingran & Sehgal, 1978) in certain parts of India. The production potential of aquaculture is location specific. The production efficiency of cultivable species can be enhanced through application of latest scientific techniques. Kashmir valley does not have any sound aquaculture background unlike most of the states with tropical waters. Successful and sustainable aquaculture depends upon the provision of nutritionally adequate, environment friendly and economically viable feeds which constitute 60-70% of the expenses on aquaculture operations. In order to evolve low cost diets, use of locally available conventional and non conventional feed ingredients is warranted. Locally available silkworm pupae and soyabean are rich in protein and can substitute the costly fishmeal which is not locally available. Culture of common carp in the village ponds in Kashmir valley using kitchen refuse and other run-off from the village as a source if input has shown the production of level of 2.5-3 tonnes/ha in a grow out period of 12 months (Handbook of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ayyappan, 2006). This simple technology could be profitably utilized in community ponds in rural areas of Kashmir valley.

For the benefit of rural youth and entrepreneurs, some of the important parameters for the breeding are elaborated here under:

Breeding Season: The common carp breeds in confined waters throughout the year except in extreme winter months due to very low temperature. Peak breeding period is during Feberuary — March and July — August.

Brooder Identification: Male brood fish is identified by the roughness of the underside of its pectoral fin, and deep pit-like genital opening. Milt exudes when slight pressure is applied on the abdomen. Female is identified by the big and soft belly, flattened ventral side, greater body depth and location of genital opening is far backward. The underside of the pectroral fin is smooth to touch.

Broodstock Maintenance: The most suitable male and female brooders may be selected and kept separately. Brooders are regularly fed on artificial diet comprising of Ground nut oil cake and rice bran in 1:1 ratio at 3% of their body weight of the total fish stock in the pond. For example, for 100 kg weight of brood stock, the daily feed ration will be 3 kg. Either this feed mixture could be fed to the fish in the form of balls or pellets placed at particular locations at a specific time of the day. This will ensure quick growth of the fish and the gonads will attain maturity in a specific time for successful breeding operations.

Breeding Technique: Though breeding occurs in natural waters, controlled breeding techniques ar employed for production of large quantity of common carp seed free from possible contamination and mixing of unwanted seeds. The maturity age of male and female and gonad development particulars are given in Table 1.

In common carp breeding, one female and two male brooders form a "set". The weight of one female brood fish and two male brood fish should be more or less equal for ensuring total breeding and fertilization of eggs.

Fecundity: The egg production capacity is called fecundity. The fecundity of the female common carp brooder weighing about 1 kg is about one lakh eggs.

Egg Substratum: Common carp eggs are adhesive type. Hence, common carp requires substrate to deposit eggs. For this purpose, aquatic weeds like Hydrilla or Najas or bunches of nylon mops are uniformly distributed inside the breeding hapa or cistern for attachment of the fertilized eggs. About, 1.5-2 kg of weeds is sufficient for the attachment of the fertilized eggs of one kg weight of female fish.

The selected brooders are carefully weighed and released into a breeding pool ( Hapa or small tank or cement cistern) in the evening. This breeding pool will serve as a space for breeding and fertilization of eggs. Spawning will be usually in spruts with short intervals in a single night. If they do not breed within 36 hrs of keeping them in the hapa or cistern they are returned to the stock ponds and other fish are selected for further trails.

Breeding and Egg Collection: Common carp generally breeds within 6 to 10 hrs after being released in the breeding pool and by morning, the egg collectors could be seen with millions of eggs. The fertilized eggs are dirty pale yellow in colour whereas the unfertilized ones are opaque and whitish in colour. After the breeding is over, the brooders are removed from the breeding pool and weighed. The difference in weight before and after breeding gives the weight of eggs released. The total number of eggs released is calculated at the rate of about 700 no.'s per gram of difference in weight of fish. These eggs along with the weeds or nylon mops are transferred and spread uniformly in a series of hatching hapas. About 1kg of egg collectors carrying nearly 40,000 — 1,00,000 eggs are kept in each hapa.

The incubation period of common carp is about 48-72 hrs at 28-31°C water temperature. If the water temperature is less than this, the incubation period prolongs. The hatching is usually over within this duration if the temperature is condusive. After hatching is completed, the hatchlings have to be kept in the hapas till the yolk-sac is absorbed. Four to five days after breeding, the weeds are carefully removed from the hapa and the spawn is collected.

Spawn Counting: The quantity of spawn is measured by perforated cups of known capacity. The number of spawn per cup is determined @ 500 spawn / ml.

The spawn is either stocked in pre-prepared nurseries or transported to long distances under oxygen packing for stocking. The spawn attains the fry stage in about 2 to 3 weeks time in the nursery ponds. The fry can be sold for farming in village ponds.

Common carp breeding will not only help in withstanding adverse seasonal conditions but also in increasing fish seed production and providing employment to rural youth, enhancing fish production and utilization of particularly small water bodies. Common carp culture will increase the income of fish farmers and thereby improving their socio-economic condition.

Once the healthy seed of common carp is produced, the seed is stocked in the nursery earthen ponds of suitable area (0.1-1 ha) and reared to markeatble size by adopting the standard culture techniques viz poly and composite culture, which holds the promise of giving handsome returns to the farmers.

References:

1. Ayyappan, 2006. Handbook of Fisheries and Aquaculture. ICAR, New Delhi, Publication.


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