Farmers training report on Introducing new species (Thai Koi and monosex Telapia)

Exotic fish species, specially Telapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and Thai Koi (Anabas testudenius) are becoming popular and comparatively high priced in Bangladesh. As food, they are consider highly nourishing, palatable and have reputation as tasty fish. They are well preferred because of thick muscle content and high protein value and in great demand in many parts of India, Thailand and Bangladesh. Telapia as well as Koi fish are well adapted to adverse ecological conditions obtaining swamps, marshes and derelict ponds. These water bodies are mostly shallow and characterized by heavy silt with decaying vegetation and organic load coupled will poor nutrient release.In Bangladesh the species traditionally cultured are mainly major and minor carps. A substantial numbers of seasonal water bodies like ponds, ditches, canals etc. are presently lying fallow and not suitable for carp culture. In this context, our exotic fish species, specially Telapia and Koi are the promising species for culture in such water bodies due to presence of accessory respiratory organs for Koi and high tolerance capacity to survive.

High yielding and short cycled fish species like Telapia and Thai koi has become a lucrative economic activity in rural Bangladesh. It offers huge employment generation opportunities and quick economic return of the invested money. But in this location of kotalipara due to inadequate technical knowledge to new technology, culture of these species has not yet flourished. Among various reasons, lack of appropriate technology, paucity of fry and fingerlings and determination of suitable stocking densities are still the major setbacks for the culture.

In this connection, KATALYST come forward to disseminate the new technology to rural fish farmers in collaboration with Kotalipara Fish Farmer’s development co operative society (BMO). Because Gopalgonj Fisheries BMO showed their keen interest to learn about new fish cultivation methods and/or new species with high returns. After feasibility study about the new species and as per the recommendations of the dissemination workshop, 20 nursery owners from kotalipara were selected to cultivate Thai koi and Monosex Telapia.

Bangladesh is uniquely endowed with immense potential of aquatic resources. It is blessed with vast water resources to extent of 4.3 million hectare (ha) of inland waters which offer tremendous scope to increase fish production. After china and India, Bangladesh ranks third position in the world in terms of inland fish production. In the overall agro-based economy of the country, the contribution of fishery is promising and important for creating employment opportunities for unemployed youths and women, earning foreign currency, alleviating poverty and food/ nutrition security to the people.

Fisheries alone contributes 5% to GDP and 63% to total annual animal protein intake. About 1.2 million people depend directly on fisheries for their livelihood and 10% of the total population are associated directly and indirectly in fisheries sector.

At present total fish production of Bangladesh is 24 metric tones (2005-06) which comprises 39% of inland capture, 41% of inland culture and 20% of marine resources. This present level of fish production could be increased considerably by introducing high yielding new fish species in improved culture and management practice.

Telapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) are native to Africa. There are 110 species of Telapia, many of which have been extended throughout the world. About 90% of the total world yield of telapia comes from Asia. China is the leading producing country with more than 3,00,000 Mt/Year.

Telapia were first introduced to Bangladesh in 1954 from Thailand but farmers refused it because of its poor growth rate. Nile telapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was first introduced into Thailand by UNICEF in 1974 and into Bangladesh from Thailand by BFRI in 1987. It was accepted by farm households owing its good growth performance. BFRI also imported Red Telapia in 1988 from Thailand and Genetically Improved Farmed Telapia (GIFT) from Philippines in 1994. Due to prolific breeding habits, the population of Telapia pond can not be controlled. It hampers the total production due to uncontrolled stocking densities.

Koi (Anabas testudenius) is a popular and high priced fish in Bangladesh. As food, it is consider highly nourishing palatable and have reputation as tasty fish. Owing their taste and nutritional values, they fetch a high price in market. Koi fishes are called as climbing perch as because their walking nature. Koi has extra air breathing organs as they can breath from air. In habituation to supplementary feed and unavailability of fingerlings are the main causes to do not culture the indigenous fish in pond. Due to siltration, climatic changes, decreasing natural water bodies, the production of indigenous koi’s are being decreasing day by day and it is already been listed an endangered fish species of 54.

As substitute of indigenous tasty koi species Thai koi has already been introduced in many part of Bangladesh. Meanwhile it accepted to rural farmers for high yielding, quick growth behavior, adopted to supplementary feed and easy induced breeding techniques for getting fingerling with high survivality.