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Mangaluru: The Minister of Fisheries, Ports and River Transport, S Angara has directed officials of the Department of Fisheries and the College of Fisheries to focus on reviving murrel farming in Dakshina Kannada.
Dr. Shivakumar Magada, Dean of Mangaluru College of Fisheries, said the breeding of ‘Channa marulius’ popular as ‘madanji’ in Tulu and ‘kuchu’, ‘korava’, ‘kandu’ in Kannada and of ‘Channa striatus’ known as ‘malenji’ in Tulu, have been planned.
“Murrels or snakeheads are tasty and nutrient dense freshwater fish. They are believed to have medicinal value. Available in abundance in the past, their population in the region has declined due to pollution and other factors. Minister Angara insisted that the college take over the breeding program and promote its cultivation in all small water bodies. Most farmers have farm ponds that are well suited for rearing murres and can also be an additional source of income,” he said.
“The murrel is one of the native air-breathing fish. It can even survive lower dissolved oxygen levels. Although it is the state fish of Telangana, people prefer murrel over any other fish in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and North East region . Karnataka University of Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences has already started its breeding program at the Fisheries Research and Information Centre, Hesaraghatta headed by Dr. Manjappa N. The center has already collected enough stocks of broodstock, and the first official breeding program will be launched by the end of May. The project worth Rs 1 crore is supported by the Department of Fisheries,” Dr Magada said.
“We have also been tasked to work on getting a GI tag for the Dakshina Kannada murrel. The production cost is around Rs 250-Rs 280 per kilogram, while the market price is around Rs 450-600 per kilogram, compared to the market price of around Rs 150-Rs 200 for others varieties of freshwater fish. There is a lack of data in terms of estimated production in India,” he said.
A team of Indian scientists, including Dr. Magada, had visited Vietnam to study murrel farming and its technology in 2018. In addition, a proposal for karimeen farming led by Dr. Rajanna, was submitted to the Department of Fisheries, after Angara insisted on taking up the breeding and promotion of karimeen, a popular fish in Kerala.

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