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Bengal yellowfin seabream, (Acanthopagrus datnia) a member of the Sparidae family, is a popular white tender meat in the Bay of Bengal region. The demand and market price of this product are significantly high, reaching Rs. 300-400/kg. The lack of quality seeds hindered its aquaculture expansion, limiting its cultivation to traditional Bheries of West Bengal.

The Kakdwip Research Centre of ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture in Chennai initiated brood stock development and trials on induced spawning. Brood fish with body weight ranging from 100 – 630 g were maintained in the RAS. Milt expression in males and mature oocytes in females were observed in the last week of November 2023. Mature females having oocyte diameter >450 µm were selected for pairing with the sex ratio of 1 female: 3 males in the spawning tank. The dose of hCG (2000 IU/kg body weight for females and 1000 IU/kg body weight for males) was standardized to induce successful spawning by a breeding pair. Ovulation was observed within 18 – 24 hours at 18 – 20 ºC in 26 – 27 ppt salinity. Fertilized eggs (diameter: 870 – 890 µm) are translucent and pelagic. Hatching can be completed within 18 hours at a water temperature of 18-20 ºC. A female (body weight: 250 – 300 g) could spawn in 3-5 batches with a total of 1.0 – 2.0 lakh eggs post hCG administration. Fertilization and hatching percentage ranged between 90 – 95 %. Newly born hatchlings were in the range of 1.92-1.98 mm in length. Mouth opening was observed at 50 hours post-hatching at 20 ºC. Exogenous feeding was initiated on 3 days post-hatching (dph) with rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis) which continued till 15 dph. Artemia nauplii were offered from 15 dph – 35 dph. Weaning on microparticulate formulated feed started on 30 DPH. Outdoor nursery rearing of 30000 nos larvae in tanks and Brackishwater ponds is in progress.

Globally this is the first report on captive spawning and larval production of Bengal yellowfin seabream (A. datnia). This achievement marks a significant milestone for hatchery-based seed production of Bengal yellowfin seabream in India leading to new opportunities for aquaculture shortly through species diversification in the country.

(Source: ICAR-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

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