Scientists in Orissa have developed a variety of fish that they claim grows faster than others and is bacteria resistant.
A team of scientists from India and Norway had taken up the project three years ago to develop a variety of fish that resists aeromoniasis - a common bacterial disease affecting hatcheries in India, Pramod Kumar Sahoo, one of the researchers, said.
Aeromoniasis is the most common bacterial disease of freshwater fish. A fish infected with the bacteria develops fatal ulcers and haemorrhages on its body, causing severe economic loss to the fish farmers. At present no permanent solution is available to prevent or control this disease anywhere in the world.
The new variety named, Jayanti, developed in Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) in Bhubaneswar, has the higher growth potential, said Sahoo, who works as a senior scientist at CIFA.
One generation of selection for disease resistance has been completed with encouraging results, he added.
A team of scientists had earlier proved variation in Rohu families to this bacterial disease in a preliminary study in a challenge test and this prompted the further study.
Under the three-year project, six researchers including Ragnar Salte, Morten Rye, Pramoda Kumar Sahoo and Kanta Das Mahapatra developed 15 different families of the fish through selective breeding technique and injected them the same bacteria to study the resistance. "It showed encouraging results," Sahoo said.
"The Jayanti Rohu is recording 17 percent more growth per generation," he added.
In the absence of any commercial vaccine, the improved Rohu, if found better after multi-location trials, will add another important trait to existing improved Jayanti Rohu with higher growth and economic returns to the farmers.
However, Sahoo said that more research was needed to confirm the findings before farmers can use the varieties. "We want at least another two years to carry the study further," he said.
The bacteria resistant fish are still under study at CIFA and not available for the farmers as of now.
"Further study is under progress. Besides, we also need to check the offspring if they inherit the same quality before going for its field applications," he said.