Hatchery production of juveniles of pharaoh cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis (Ehrenberg, 1831) from stranded eggs and sea ranching along the Thoothukudi coast
Accidentally entangled and stranded egg masses of Sepia pharaonis in fishing gears were collected from various landing centres of Thoothukudi district. The stranded egg masses were incubated, hatched and larval rearing was carried out at the Molluscan Fish Hatchery of Tuticorin Research Centre of CMFRI. The average hatching rate of S. pharaonis was 95 % for the eggs collected from the fishing nets. The size of day 1 paralarvae of S. pharaonis was 5.46±0.06 mm and reached the average size of 40.10±1.15 mm length and 9.6±0.20 g weight on day 60 with the average survival rate of 70 %. Maximum weight gain (%) was noticed between 20 – 40 days. The paralarvae of S. pharaonis fed with suitable live feeds until 50 days, after which fed with dead fish and shrimp. The juveniles were transformed as broodstock with an average length of 137.4±8.08 mm and weight of 229.7±21.54 g on 180th day of culture. In the hatchery, the first captive spawning was witnessed on 167th day and the eggs laid by the females ranged from 46 – 118. However, the captive bred egg masses failed to hatch out. Therefore, the hatchery technology needs to be perfected through the development of nutritionally improved broodstock diet to ensure better hatching. During the years 2016 – 2018, altogether 8400 numbers of hatchery reared 60 days old juveniles of S. pharaonis were ranched into the fishing grounds off Tuticorin coast. The biological significance of sea ranching activities to replenish the natural stocks requires further research and evaluation.
Broodstock, Hatching rate, Paralarvae, Sea ranching, Sepia pharaonis, Survival rate
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