MPEDA boosts production of Kerala's quintessential Karimeen

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Kochi: The production of Karimeen or Pearl Spot fish, globally known for its delectable taste and high-yielding market value, has got a major boost with the Multispecies Aquaculture Complex (MAC) of MPEDA here developing facilities for its commercial-scale breeding and seed production.

This facilitates offering a lucrative alternative to fish farmers to grow it round the year.

MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas, while inaugurating the sale of first batch of Karimeen seed produced from MAC said the commercial production would enable farmers to get good quality seeds throughout the year and enhance the production of the fish in the state.

Karimeen is considered one of Kerala's most significant delicacies. This variety of fish is most commonly found in the backwaters of Kerala. Karimeen fry or curry is very popular among the tourists and locals alike. Apart from curry and fry, Karimeen pollichathu is also a famous delicacy of the state. 

Prized for its taste, nutrient value and high demand, Karimeen is categorised as an exotic fish in Kerala. Apart from Kerala, Karimeen fish curry is famous in Bengal, Odisha and Konkani regions.

In 2010, the Kerala government had declared Karimeen (Etroplus suratensis) as the State Fish to protect this costly fish from over-exploitation, considering its food and economic value and a major attraction of culinary tourism.

Cultured in traditional ponds in the state, it commands a high price of Rs 500-600 a kg.

"The production of Karimeen should be substantially boosted in order to make it a candidate species for export. Nowadays, the farmers are mainly depending on wild caught seeds for culture. 

Too much dependency on the seeds from the wild will lead to over-exploitation," Srinivas said in a release. The facility at the Multispecies Aquaculture Complex at Vallarpadam here will offer a lucrative alternative to fish farmers to grow it round the year.

"To overcome this, MPEDA has developed facilities for commercial-scale breeding and seed production for Pearl Spot at its Multispecies Aquaculture Complex at Vallarpadam," he added. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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