May 7, 2009
India Aqua Weekly: Cobia breeding takes off to boost aquaculture (Week ended May 6, 2009)
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Price Summary
Market remained dull in the concluding week as prices of all major species Hilsa, Rahu and all varieties of Prawn remained traded below price or were not traded at all.
Hilsa was not traded in the market last week due to non-availability of the commodity. It was traded last week at Rs23, 500 per 100 kgs.
However, the Rahu local variety, which was a gainer last week was on the downward trend and traded atRs8, 000 in comparison to last week's price of Rs8, 500 per 100 kilograms. Even Rahu Andhra variety, which was up by Rs800 in the last week was also down byRs300 per 100 kilograms and settled atRs5, 000 in comparison to last week's price of Rs5, 300.
Prawn "A" category was not traded last fortnight but it was traded this week at around Rs33, 000 per 100 kgs, almost Rs500 above the prices for the last seven weeks. In the 12th week, the same price of Rs33, 000 was noticed. 
Whereas prices of Prawn "B" and "C" also remained down in each variety and traded at Rs21, 000 and Rs13, 000 as against last week's prices of Rs21, 500 and Rs13, 500 per 100 kgs giving a dip of Rs500 per 100 kgs in both the categories respectively.  
Market Analysis
India's first cobia cage culture pilot project is to come up at onshore and offshore sites at Tharuvikulam in Tuticorin. It is expected to give much-needed fill to the country's seafood exports.
Breeding cobia for commercial production can be very profitable because of the exceptionally high growth rate exhibited by the fingerlings, huge export potential, white meat, taste and superior flavor, according to the Seafood Exporters Association of India.
Cobia culture is already in vogue in some South-East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand. The project to be set up under the joint guidance of the Fisheries College and Research Institute of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University at Tuticorin, the Central Institute of Brackish water Aquaculture at Chennai and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Mandapam, would aim at developing technologies for breeding and farming of cobia and for preparation of fish products in different form for marketing.
However, India is already a late entrant into the booming international trade in frozen and value-added export of cobia. Since other countries already have a lead over us, we will package the fish differently for the market. "We are planning to market it as a value –added product in the form of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food," sources associated with the project said.      
As far as feed is concerned, cobia culture is found to be far cheaper. One kg of feed for sea bass, the other fish reared in cages in India is as high as Rs50.
Reflecting the rapid growth cycle and large potential size, cobia has a diverse feeding habit and is also carnivorous; eating smaller fishes and it is tolerant to high temperature and brackish water, enabling culture in diverse climatic and geographic domains. The fish is to be bred in marine cages, which are to be imported from Norway. For the onshore phase of the project, unutilized shrimp farms are to be converted into cobia farms.
The purpose of the onshore and offshore aspects of the project is to draw comparisons between the two sites and assess the advantages of each culture and how best to increase the productivity of each other.
Market Forecast
Due to ban on the coastal areas and with lesser demand in the market, prices is seen to remain dull in the coming week.

Weekly transacted prices of major seafood species in India


Prices as Apr 29, 2009
(Rs/ 100 kg)

Prices as MAy 6, 2009
(Rs/ 100 kg)

Price change
(Rs/ 100 kg)


Rs.    23, 500

   Not Traded

      N I L 

Rahu (Andhra)

Rs.      5, 300

Rs.      5, 000

 -  RS.     300  

Rahu (Local)

Rs.      8, 500 

Rs.      8, 000

 -  RS.     500   

Prawn zambo a

   Not Traded

Rs.    33, 000 

      N I L 

Prawn zambo b

Rs.    21, 500

Rs.    21, 000

 - RS.      500 

Prawn zambo c

Rs.    13, 500 

Rs.    13, 000

 - RS.      500 

US$1 = Rs.49.33 (May 7, 2009)

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