Milkfish Culture in Brackish water ponds (Pakistan)
Milkfish are euryhaline; suitable for farming in freshwater, brackish water, or seawater. Milkfish are omnivores and largely rely on phytoplankton Although they can grow up to 3 kg, they are generally harvested at around 300-800 grams. Fisheries Development Board MNFS&R has conducted an experiment to culture milkfish. Milkfish reared in a brackish water-intensive system achieved an excellent growth and survival rate on natural food Fish juveniles were obtained from the estuarine water present nearby by location (Khararo creek) in the winter season (November to December-2018) from the pool water that is generally cut off from the seawater and could be a good source of local seed (milkfish). In the culture period of four-month ( Jan 2019 to April 2019) 5,000 healthy juveniles of milkfish, (10 g) were reared in pond culture up to table size (280 g). The harvested fish were sold out in Gulshan –e- Hadeed Fish Market, Karachi at a rate of 150/kg.
The overall water quality and Growth parameters during the culture period followed as:
Salinity (30.91±0.48 ppt), pH (8.51±0.12), Temperature (24.9±0.93˚C), and Dissolved Oxygen (7.64±0.59 mg/l).
Survival rate (96%), final average body weight (280 g), average daily weight gain(2.08 g/day), Specific growth rate % (1.61 g), and Total production (1344.82 kg/ha) at the time of harvesting. .
Milkfish is considered a valuable commercial food fish and its culture can enhance the production of farmed fish but unfortunately, it’s not cultured in Pakistan. The local communities along the coast of Sindh and Baluchistan should cultivate the milkfish so that they can improve their livelihood by adopting this practice and promoting the mariculture of locally available fish species.