In a first in the country, the scientists of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have succeeded in mass production of Orange Spotted Grouper (Epinephelus coiodes), an economically high valued marine fish species. The fish, locally known as 'hamour' or 'Amur,' fetches a high price in the market and the achievement is expected to boost the fisheries sector of the country.


The carnivorous fish is one of the most commonly cultured grouper species for commercial sales in Asia-Pacific region. It is known as 'Amur' in UAE and is a major food fish in China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. 


The fish fetches Rs 400 to 450 per kg in the Indian market, and values three to four times higher in the international market. 


The wild populations of the fish have been facing a significant decline in recent years owing to habitat destruction and overfishing, and the species has been classified as nearly threatened. Over the last few years, various attempts have been made to conserve the species. Though scientists were successful to increase production of the species through aquaculture, the survival rate of larvae was very low. 


Scientists at Vishakhapatnam Regional Centre of the CMFRI were trying to enhance the survival rate of the larvae for past two years. Though by 2014, they succeeded in seed production, only very few larvae survived. "After manipulating different water quality and feeding protocols, an enhanced survival rate of 10% was achieved this time”, Shubhadeep Ghosh, Senior Scientist said. 


"The success in seed production has raised a ray of hope for the mariculture of the fish using hatchery produced seeds in the country," CMFRI director Gopalakrishnan said.

The development will enhance the scope for mariculture by opening a good banking opportunity for exporters and fish farmers by carrying out sea cage culture of the species. The fish is compatible with hardy nature and high temperature and is tastier, Gopalakrishnan said. 


The director also said the new method would help India to contribute significantly to the global production of the species by increasing production to one lakh tonne per year.