India Region

Hilsa Attains 689 G (43.6 Cm) in the Pond in 3 Years – better Growth Than Rivers Was Achieved

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08 May 2024, New Delhi: Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) the most-loved prized fish of Southeast Asia has always attracted the attention of researchers for a long which led to a recent sincere attempt to bring the fish into aquaculture through support from various research projects sponsored by Govt. of India, especially two multi-institutional projects under ICAR-National Agricultural Science Fund, New Delhi.

Hilsa broodstock development was a major objective under the ICAR-NASF project phase II. In this direction, juveniles of Hilsa were reared in ponds at various locations like the freshwater zone at Rahara (ICAR- Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture), brackishwater zone at Kakdwip (ICAR- Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture) and intermediate zone at Jamitya village in Kolaghat, Midnapur East, West Bengal (ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute). The broodstock ponds are fed with water from River Rupnarayana, a tributary of river Ganga at Kolaghat. Good growth and survival were recorded at all the two pond culture facilities there.

During recent monitoring, a fish of 689 g (43.6 cm) was recorded at Kolaghat, which is gained during rearing of 3 years. This attainment of size is the highest reported from any such attempt in India. The growth of pond-reared Hilsa is better than that of open water revealing that there is a possibility of aquaculture of Hilsa. Fishes were fed with their preferred food of live zooplankton in addition to the specially designed feed. Water quality is almost freshwater with salinity of about 0.4-0.5 ppt and conductivity of about 800-1000 µS/cm. Water is alkaline (pH 7.4-7.5) with sufficient dissolved oxygen (7.4-7.5 mg/l).

The success story highlights the prospects of a successful captive Hilsa culture if ponds are properly managed.

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