Lack of sufficient supply of Asian sea bass ( Lates calcarifer ) is enabling fish seed collectors to earn huge profits.
The cost of each Asian sea bass seed being collected from the Machilipatnam mangrove forest was increased from Rs. 2 last week to Rs. 6 on Sunday.
There is huge demand for the Asian sea bass, which is being cultivated extensively across the Krishna district.
The local fisher folk are attributing the presence of huge fish seed in the mangrove forest to the recent weather conditions.
The locals, including schoolchildren, on Sunday ventured into the mangrove forest in search of the fish seed and returned with a handful of catch.
Despite huge catch, the collectors were unable to meet the demand from the aqua farmers.
There was speculation among the aqua farmers that the cost of each fish seed would increase up to Rs. 10 in the coming days.
The species is widely distributed in the Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, and Indo West Pacific regions.
“A few hours of labour that is spent on catching the fish seed ensures a profit of at least Rs.1,000. Many of us are able to catch a maximum of 1,000 fish seed in a day,” Podugu Ramu told The Hindu .
The fish seed collectors are required to venture into the dense mangrove forest to collect the seed found abundantly in the backwaters.
At present, the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, Chennai, and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture are supposed to supply the Asian sea bass seed for the aqua farmers.
However, they are unable to supply the required quantity of seed, leaving the aqua farmers to rely on the Masula seed collectors. It has also been established that the Asian sea bass seed collected from the mangrove forest survives well and the growth rate is considerable.
The Asian sea bass is one of the high-valued fish species that has great demand in the market.
Source : The Hindu