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Quality of biofloc-raised fish under scanner

 Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, November 16 2021: Biofloc fish farming technique is helping in ensuring sufficient production of indigenous fish varieties which are under the threat of becoming extinct and managing to save some of the species from vanishing but products of such technique are far from the satisfaction of consumers and hence there has less buyers and the fate of these fishes is uncertain.

Being popular throughout the world nowadays, biofloc fish farming technique is being adopted by fishermen in different parts of the state too and it has managed to produce popular indigenous fish varieties sufficiently.

Among popular indigenous fish produced sufficiently through this technique are Anabas locally named 'Ukabi' and Tilapia popularly known as 'Tunghanbi'.

These two indigenous fish varieties were feared of extinction until recently but sufficiently produced nowadays through Biofloc fish technique.

Though available in markets sufficiently, consumers buying these fishes are decreasing.

When contacted in this regard, a fish farmer from Imphal East district who sufficiently produced 'Ukabi' and 'Tunghanbi' said that Biofloc fish farming is eco-friendly and this is the technique of rearing fish by recycling nutrients in aqua-culture thereby increasing water quality.

Special fish varieties have been produced sufficiently in the state since the advent of this new technology and this indeed is a huge achievement.

Following success of biofloc fish farming technique in the state, significant number of people ventured into fish rearing as a serious profession and managed to create income generating job by adopting the same technique.

Popular indigenous fish 'Ukabi' is being sold at Rs 400-500 per kilogram in local markets and 'Tunghanbi' at maximum of Rs 250 per kilogram.

However, rate of purchasing these sufficiently produced indigenous fish varieties is decreasing and this indeed would be worrisome for fishermen, the farmer added.

According to the fish farmer, there are two main reasons for decreasing number of purchasers.

The first is reduction of consumption rate due to surplus production while the second reason is quality.

Fishes produced through biofloc fish farming technique could not give the taste of indigenous fishes found in local ponds, rivers and lakes and accordingly people lack interest in purchasing fishes reared in this technique.

The fish farmer also stressed the need for doing research on keeping intact indigenous taste on fishes produced through biofloc fish farming technique while expressing fear that fishermen could stop rearing fish if there are no buyers for the sufficient indigenous fishes they produced.

When opinions of some people who are fond of consuming indigenous fishes were assessed, they informed that 'Ukabi' and 'Tunghanbi' reared through biofloc fish farming technique are beautiful and eye-catching but have no inferior taste and they do not want to consume.

They also suggested that these two popular indigenous fish varieties need to be reared using indigenous method so as to retain the indigenous taste.

According one consumer, government's policy to rear popular indigenous fish called Sareng is welcome and very good but it is important to ensure maintenance of taste or else Sareng too will have less consumers just like 'Ukabi' and 'Tunghanbi' produced with the help of biofloc fish farming technique.

As per report of different researches, altogether 16 indigenous fish varieties are on the verge of extinction and one main reason for this is vanishing of wetland eco-system.

Another reason has been construction of Ithai barrage and other dams and diminishing water quality.