IMPHAL, July 19 - The aquarium at your home with colourful fishes swimming in it could be converted into an economic activity as certain endemic ornamental fish species in Manipur can be bred in captivity. Recently researchers in Manipur have successfully started to develop a captive-breeding technology of some of the endemic fish species.
"We've studied the biology of certain local fishes in the university. So I thought why not develop certain (captive-breeding) technique which can be used for economic activity," said Zoology teacher in Manipur College, Dr Yurembam Motilan. "The research work for developing the technology was taken up (between 2011 and 2015) at Manipur University in collaboration with the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Thoubal and the Central Indian Fisheries Education, Mumbai."
Dr Motilan told The Assam Tribune that so far biology of eight different local small fish species, which have wonderful ornamental characters, were studied and successfully bred in captive (aquarium). Most of the species have responded positively, he added. The species studied are Khabak (Bangna devdevi), Belun Paibi (Devario acuticephalus), Ngarang (Devario aequipinnatus) or Zebra fish, Ngakijou (Lepidocephalichthys berdmori), Phabou Nga (Puntius chola), Phabou Nga (Pethia khugae), Ngakha Meingangbi (Pethia manipurensis and Ngapema (Trichogaster labiosa).
Meanwhile, Fishery Officer of Manipur Science Aquarium L Nilakumar said that most of the small fishes, which are treated as unwanted for conventional farming in the region, have good potential as ornamental fishes.
Ornamental fish business can be taken up in just a room, which can generate income for unemployed youths in Manipur, which is home to a number of fish species which are highly prized for their ornamental values, he said.
Approximately 200 species of freshwater fishes from Eastern Himalaya are exported as ornamental fishes. This is said to account for about 85 per cent of all export of ornamental fishes from India, Dr Heok Hee Ng of National University of Singapore said in IUCN's report on Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Eastern Himalaya.