Manipur’s state fish introduced in cage culture to enhance production and conservation
For the first time, Manipur’s state fish ‘Pengba’ (Osteobrama belangeri) has been introduced in cage aquaculture on a trial basis in an attempt to enhance table fish production to meet the increasing demand of fish and its conservation.
“We’ve taken up the initiative-- in collaboration with Manipur state fishery department-- in the cages installed in Takmu waterbody at Sendra under Bishnupur district,” says senior scientist (aquaculture) Dipesh Debnath of Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Guwahati. “The idea is to popularise cage/pen culture for fishery in the bigger water bodies without disturbing other activities in the lake or reservoir,” he says.
Similarly, the cage culture was being introduced to different fish varieties even in other northeastern states such as Assam Tripura, Meghalaya and it can also help in meeting the increasing demand of fish in the context of Manipur as and when the on-going experiment is successful.
The ICAR scientist is also confident that Pengba, being omnivorous, can feed on floating feeds and algae in the cage and can subsequently grow upto 300-500 grams within 5/6 months.
Currently around 500 to 2,500 Pengba fingerlings were released in each of the 10 cages in the Takmu water body at Sendra in Manipur’s Bishnupur district.
Confirming the new initiative, Director N Gojendra Singh of Manipur State fishery department, said, “Yes, the idea is to experiment (on) the survival rate and the feeding pattern of the state fish.”
The new initiative has been taken up after successful induced-breeding of ‘Pengba’, which used to be found abundantly in Loktak Lake and Nambul River in particular, ended in its wild habitat and is now only bred in farm ponds due to habitat degradation, pollution and introduction of non-native fish species etc.
Manipur, home to more than 200 fish species, has seven endemic fishes among the 15 endangered freshwater fish species, mentioned in the Red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s threatened species report on the status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in Eastern Himalaya.
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