Monday, December 27, 2010

Tiger Grouper ~ Kerapu Harimau ~ Epinephelus fuscoguttatus

The 2009 Import and Export Market for Live Fish in AsiaThe 2009 Import and Export Market for Live Fish in ChinaSince late 1990s when TG start getting the attention from our fish farmers, I was became addicted to this fish. Sometimes later, I got some fry of TG produced by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) hatchery's and kept them in an aquarium outside my room at the office. Everyday, I spent time to feed and watch them taking the food given to them. The juvenile fish look aggresive in behaviour and initially refused the food fed to them. But, slowly they become more relax and willing to take the pelleted food given though will immediately go into hiding after taking the food.
This fish also being called as Brown Marbled Grouper in the market. As I previously mentioned in my earlier post, the price of this fish go slightly down for the last few months but recently seem bouncing back. So, as predicted, this species will remain in our aquaculture industry for a long long time.

This species was successfully propagated in the hatcheries all over this region, thanks to the hard works of researchers in various institutions. In Malaysia at least 2 institutions reporting thier successes in breeding this species, i.e. our Department of Fisheries and Universiti Malaysia Sabah back many years ago. They were also successfully cultured in the cages, ponds, tanks, flow through or recirculated. So, the pressure on the wild stocks almost being eliminated especially when the consumers prefer the live TG, something which very hard to get from wild caught fishes unless using traps or special devices.

Distribution of Tiger Grouper.
Source: fishbase.org

The distribution of this species running from Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Andaman Sea, Malacca Straits, South China Sea, China Sea up to Westen Pacific Ocean. However, the culturing activities of this species are only common in South East Asian countries, Taiwan and China. They normally found i1n tropical coral waters in the range of 35°N - 27°S and 39°E - 171°W, with the depth between 1 to 60 meters. 

Coral area in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna, Sabah
where this species commonly found. Photo: Sim See Hong.

 So far the longest reported body length of TG was 1.2 meter and published weight was 10 kilogram. It was also reported in Thailand that this fish can start spawning when they are about 1.5 kg weight for female. Since most of the grouper fishes are protogynous hermaphrodites (they were born as functional females and turn into functional males when reaching some size later on), we can expect that males will be bigger in size than females. The same reports says they can turn into males at the body weight as low as 2.25 kilograms. In the wild they feed on fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans. In captivity, they mainly being fed with trash fishes and squids.

This species were among the popular live fishes traded in HongKong and China. The latest average price during this article being prepared was HK$237.17 per catty.  As can be seen from the authority's website, the average price  for the last 3 years never fall below HK$160 per catty.

Average Wholesale Price of Tiger Grouper.
Source: Fish Marketing Organisation HK

Based on the recorded price, it can be understood why this species remain to be a popular among the industrial players in the region. The precise technology on fry production of this species followed by mature technology of  farming  will make the species to remain important to aquaculture industry.

I will post some review on the propagation technology used in the industry for  spawning inducement and larvae culture of this species sometimes later.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting article. What are the recommend weight and length for hormonal induced breeding of TG?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much for your interesting articles, they provide an insight into Grouper culture in Sabah from someone with much practical experience. I am currently working on grouper genetics.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The recommended weight is approximately around 3.5kg-6.0kg for female and 5.5kg-13.0kg for male

    ReplyDelete