Mola can double fish output: Study

Fish production could be made almost double in pond aquaculture introducing mola fish with other carp fishes, shows a research of WorldFish Centre in Dhaka, reports UNB.

“Before our intervention, three tonnes of fishes were produced in a one- hectare pond, now fish production has increased to over 5.5 tonnes, of which one tonne is mola fish,” Dr Benoy Kumar Barman, senior scientist of WorldFish Bangladesh and South Asia, told UNB.

mola fishRevealing their research findings, he said fish production of carp fishes have increased after introduction of mola in pond culture.

About the economic value of mola fish, the WorldFish scientist said: “The price of mola is higher than other carp fishes. One tonne of mola is equivalent to two tonnes of other fishes in terms of money.”

In 2010, WorldFish Bangladesh with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development launched a project on innovative fish production technologies in ponds and wetlands with small fish species. The aim of the project was to increase household income in poor, rural households in the country, and improve nutrition, especially in women and children, through increased intake of nutrient-rich small fish.

The WorldFish survey shows that the contribution of small fishes (mola and other small fish) in total fish production was only 4.5 percent before the intervention of the project, the baseline year 2010.

In 2011, the contribution of mola and other small fish in total fish production was 15 percent (Rangpur 12 percent and Dinajpur 17 percent) while it was 31 percent in 2012 of which the contribution of mola was 21 percent and other small fish 10 percent.

The result shows significant increase in production of mola and other small fish than carps over the years. The farm gate price of mola was Tk 206 per kg while the price of carp fishes was Tk 100 per kg.

The project completed in 2013 promotes innovative new technologies designed to increase the production of small nutrient-rich fish species in two separate and environmentally distinct agricultural areas.

The project targeted about 1,500 households with small fish ponds in the northwest districts of Rangpur and Dinajpur, and 500 households in the northeast district of Sunamganj, an area dominated by wetlands and an open water capture fishery.

Dr Benoy Kumar said that about 2,000 households were brought under the project coverage and 1-2 kg of mola had been distributed to every household to release the small fish in their ponds.

“We also provided technology among them to develop their fish culture. After three years of trial, we see that 50-60 kg of mola with large size was produced in every pond. The production of other carps also increased,” he said.

Mola is rich in iron, zinc, calcium and preformed vitamin A as retinol. It is readily available for pond stocking, is highly desired by households and commands a good market price.

About the nutritious value of mola, Jogeir Toppe, a FAO officer and expert on fish and nutrition, earlier cited the case of the mola, a pond fish in Bangladesh that has exceptionally high levels of zinc and iron and Vitamin A as well as 80 times the calcium content as tilapia.