The Mandapam Regional Centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has developed 'designer clownfish'. The development of the new ornamental fish with traits of four sub types of clownfish would give a major boost to ornamental fish farming and keeping, officials said.
The CMFRI, which had been helping local fisherwomen set up ornamental fish units, an alternative livelihood programme to fisherfolk, has developed the attractive and colourful ‘designer clownfish’, which commanded a good demand in the market and fetched high price for the fisherfolk.
"The biggest attraction of this fish is that it has the traits of all the four sub types of clownfish – Picasso, Platinum, Tear drop and Snow flake. We have developed and standardised seed production protocol", said R. Jayakumar, Scientist (in-charge), CMFRI.
After standardising the production protocol, the CMFRI had started supplying juveniles, measuring one to one and a half inch to fisherwomen running ornamental fish units, marine ornamental fish farmers and those who maintained marine aquariums, he said.
The CMFRI sold designer clownfish at a premium rate of Rs 150 per fish, while the farmers, after growing the fish for 45 days, sold them at Rs 400 each. In the open market, a single multi-colour fish was sold at Rs 800, he said.
Mr. Jayakumar said the Marine Biotechnical Unit at the CMFRI headquarters in Kochi had developed varna, a special feed for ornamental fish. The feed in the form of small granules gave better growth and colour intensity to different varieties of ornamental fish, he said.
As ornamental fish farming was emerging as a profitable business and aquarium fish keeping was growing as one of the popular hobbies, local fisherwomen were encouraged to set up ornamental fish units as alternative livelihood means. With the funding support of the CMFRI, 20 such units had been established in Thangachimadam, Pamban and Mandapam, he said.
The institute proposed to set up five more units at Pudukudi in Thondi for the benefit of Scheduled Caste people under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP) at a total cost of Rs 32 lakh. Local self-help groups were being involved in setting up the units with 100% subsidy. Each unit would have six glass tanks and life support system, he said.