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AAU-bred fish grows just in time for Bihu

Jorhat, April 10: If the Fisheries Research Centre at Assam Agricultural University here had much to cheer with its huge catch ahead of Magh Bihu every year, this year the fingerlings bred in the centre have brought glee to fish-rearers ahead of Bohag Bihu.

AAU vice-chancellor K.M. Bujarbaruah said the greenhouse conditions had enabled fish to spawn much ahead of the usual time than in the actual climatic conditions in the Northeast.

“This would allow the fish to grow and mature on a par with fishes bred in other states with warmer climate. We have been able to supply 15 fish breeders with these seeds before Bohag Bihu and the fully grown fish is expected to fetch a high price,” he said.

Bujarbaruah said the experiment came in the wake of an interaction with fish farmers in the presence of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi about a year ago when one breeder said fingerlings could be supplied in February-March instead of the natural breeding season in May-June, when the weather becomes warmer.

“We worked towards advancing the fish breeding season by raising the temperature and in accordance we set up a greenhouse where the water and air temperatures were increased to summertime temperatures and the fishes monitored on a daily basis. They spawned much ahead of the usual time,” he said.

Bibha Chetia Borah, scientist and centre in-charge, who had implemented the project, said in this sphere of research, they were ahead of other full-fledged fish research institutes in the country where experiment had been conducted to advance the reproductive stage of fishes like rohu and bahu.

“One of the reasons for low fish production was the adverse environmental condition during the peak period of fish breeding and growth, which leads to import of fingerlings from outside the state. Fish being cold-blooded are more dependent on environmental temperature,” she said.

Since the cold and dry climate during the prolonged winter in Assam is not ideal for fish breeding, it was seen the maturation cycle started in October and completed in July, while the breeding season commenced in April-May and continued till July-August, peaking during May-June. However, in many other states, the breeding season was quite early in February.

“The imported fish seed is often of low quality, as it gets weakened during long-distance transport, handling stress as well as malnutrition. This caused heavy loss for the farmers,” Borah said.

She said fish breeders could now adopt their technology and set up businesses to supply seeds to fish farmers in Assam.