Spontaneous maturation and spawning of milkfish in floating net cages
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Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal) reared from wild-caught fry and from hatchery-bred fry matured at 3.5-5.5 years (2.3-4.9 kg). Maturation and spawning of the hatcherybred fish marks the first time the milkfish life-cycle has been completed in captivity. Milkfish at various stages of gonadal development were obtained in July-October 1980 and March-June 1981 derived from wild-caught fry, and in February-June 1983 from the hatchery-bred fish. The fish were held in floating net cages 9 m and 10 m diameter by 3 m deep, located in 7 m deep water off Igang, Guimaras Island, Philippines. Annual ranges of temperature and salinity were 25-33°C and 25-38 ppt, respectively. The fish were fed commercial feed pellet (42% protein) at 1.5-2% of body weight twice daily. Sexual maturation occurred during the natural breeding season of wild milkfish in the nearby waters. Gonadosomatic index (GSI) of mature males was 0.32-3.95 (wild-caught, 0.32-3.95; hatchery-bred, 1.71-3.85). For mature females it was 1.24-8.12 (wildcaught, 1.56-7.62; hatchery-bred, 1.24-8.12). Two spawnings were recorded in August 1980 and eight in May-July 1981 from the broodstock derived from wild-caught fry, with 342-6293 eggs collected from each spawning, while 14 spawnings were observed in May-June 1983 from the hatchery-bred fish, with 770-114 000 eggs collected. The time of spawning was between 23.00 and 02.00 h. Fertilization rate was 55-99% for the broodstock from wild-caught fry and 47-100% for the hatchery-bred fish. Hatch rate varied from 9 to 80%. Factors affecting spontaneous maturation, spawning and rematuration are discussed. Although slight improvements in egg collection were obtained, further innovations in egg collecting techniques will have to be developed. The results indicate the potential for hatchery production of milkfish fry from captive broodstock and for restocking of waters deprived of naturally occurring fry.
Contribution No. 165 of the Aquaculture Department, SEAFDEC.