A free virtual seminar series will be held from 13-17 December, hosted by the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences, in partnership with NACA and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The seminar will be held via Zoom. It will give participants a background in aquatic resource conservation practices, recommend options for sustainable aquaculture farming systems with potential for intensification with intervention strategies, and build a communication and experience exchange platform for information dissemination and future collaboration. Participation is free. Registration closes 10 December.

In this issue:

Habitat breeding and seed rearing of a near threatened featherback, Chitala chitala; Wild seed collection and modified-extensive farming of Mystus gulio in inland water bodies of South 24 Parganas, West Bengal; Freshwater pearl culture practices and challenges in India; Next generation probiotics: Future therapeutics for sustainable aquaculture; NACA Newsletter.

The cultivable small- to medium-sized bagrid catfish Mystus gulio is an estuarine species sold as a high-priced food fish in retail markets in cities and towns of southern West Bengal. M. gulio is a good addition to mixed species culture-based fisheries in canals in the Indian Sundarbans region. It adapts and grows well in freshwater ponds and is recommended for freshwater fish culture in areas of the Sundarbans vulnerable to saline water intrusion. This article describes the seed collection, nursery and grow-out practices of M. gulio as practiced in modified-extensive mixed culture systems in West Bengal, India.

The humped featherback, Chitala chitala is considered to be one of the most commercially important food, sport, aquarium and highly priced cultivable fish in Assam. However, over exploitation, habitat degradation and pollution has caused wild populations to decline in recent decades, to the point where the species is categorised as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Here we present the biological aspects of breeding and larval rearing protocols of the humped featherback, which has been prioritised as a new candidate species for freshwater aquaculture in India. The information will also aid in stock enhancement and conservation of this species.

With the implementation of the new aquatic animal disease reporting in the Asia Pacific region from January 2021, and in lieu of the published QAAD Reports (last issue published was 4th quarter of 2020), NACA will be reporting aquatic animal diseases that are occurring or present in the countries of the region, on quarterly basis.  This report covers the first and second quarters of 2021 and the original and updated reports are also available.   

In this issue:

Opinion: Benefits of animal welfare in Indian aquaculture; Imparting skill on formulated fish feed preparation to women’s self-help groups in villages – an experience; Farming of the anadromous shad, Tenualosa ilisha: Signs of taking off in India; Some facts on cannibalism in Wallago attu and its management during captive seed production; NACA Newsletter.

Wallago attu is a large catfish reaching 45 kg found in the Indian subcontinent, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. Early attempts at captive production encountered high losses due to cannibalism during early life stages. This article discusses the causative factors governing cannibalism in this catfish, including rapid transfer from live to commercial feed, size differences during stocking, seasonal changes, feeding at long intervals, high density rearing, feed distribution, feeding method and size of feed, and management strategies for minimising losses during the seed rearing period.

The andadromous shad Tenualosa ilisha (also known as hilsa) is an economically important food fish in south and southeast Asia. Populations of the species are declining globally, largely due to overexploitation and habitat modification. Its fishery has drastically declined in the Bay of Bengal bordering India. Considering the excessive demand and very high market price there have been efforts for domestication and farming of the species in India. Early efforts were not measurably successful. However, momentum on developing captive breeding and farming technologies for this species has been re-invigorated with research funding from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Parasites and disease are amongst the greatest issues affecting Indian aquculture, incurring substantial economic losses every year. Due to disease risk, some farmers may use antibiotics as a prophylactic measure, with consequent risk of increasing anti-microbial resistance. Organic aquaculture has the potential to allow reduced chemical inputs, but must be coupled with other paradigms to alleviate disease issues. The Fish Welfare Initiative believes that measures to improve animal welfare, in particular water quality and stocking density, can contribute to improved animal health outcomes.

In this issue:

Integrated taxonomy, conservation and sustainable development: Multiple facets of biodiversity; A note on 100th birth anniversary of the late Dr Hiralal Chaudhuri; Aquaculture field schools supporting mangroves for climate change adaptation of Indonesian milkfish-shrimp farmers; An insight to red tilapia breeding and culture: A farmer advisory; Aquaculture for livelihoods and food security in North-western India; NACA Newsletter.