These fish have highly valued because of their excellent body texture and flavor. The export market for grouper is rapidly increasing specially in Hong Kong, and Singapore, Japan.
The biggest challenge in commercial production of grouper fish is the shortage of fingerlings or seed from the wild or hatchery (nurseries). Because of seed shortage, high market value of this fish have encouraged many countries in Asia including India to initiate research and development programs on grouper breeding and seed production.
In India, until now, naturally collected seed from wild waters are serving the purpose. Grouper fishes are extensively cultured in coastal brackish water ponds and floating, fixed net cages in many south Asian countries.
Grouper fishes are naturally low in calories and high in proteins. Grouper fishes are great source of vitamins and minerals.
Local Names of Grouper Fish in India:- Panini been, Caravan (Tamil), McQueen, Álava (Malayalam), MRI menu, Copra, Guru (Kannada), MRI menu (Telugu), Law veto (Bengali). At this point of time, floating nursery cages with mesh size of 1.5 to 2.0 cm should be made of polyethylene netting supported by wooden frame.
These should be kept afloat with metal drums, anchored with concrete blocks and should be stocked with 250 to 600 frying or fingerlings. Once fry or fingerlings reach 15 to 20 cm in total length, they should be transferred and stocked in net cages or brackish water ponds.
Net Cage Culture in Grouper Fish Farming: The site selected for net-cage culture should be free from predators and strong wind and waves.
Construction of Net Cages in Grouper Fish Farming: In net-cage culture, floating cages are built with bamboo poles and polyethylene netting material at 25 to 50 mm diameter. Generally, these net cages are secured to bamboo poles (raft structure) buy ropes or wires.
Buoyancy should be provided by empty plastic gallons attached to the bamboo frames. Stocking in Grouper Fish Farming: The ideal water temperature for grouper fish farming should range from 27 °C to 30 °C and dissolved oxygen content at 5 mg/l.
Commercial fish farmers should go for water testing to maintain optimal techno parameters. Generally fingerlings of grouper fish with length of 12-15 cm (which are being raised in nurseries) are stocked in net-cages @ 45-50/sq.
Yield in Grouper Fish Farming: A net cage of 5 meter x 5 meter x 3 meter (Length, Width and Height of the net cage) can yield up to 600 kg in about 7 months from stocking period assuming that the fishes weighing 600 grams are being harvested (collected). The optimal techno parameters such as salinity, temperature should be maintained in the pond.
The ideal salinity of 330 mg/l and temperature range 16-32 °C should be maintained in pond culture of grouper fish. When it comes to pond size, generally it varies from 0.2 ha to 0.3 ha in area with a height of 1.5 meter to hold the water level with support of concrete dike.
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