Magur Fish (Clarias batrachus ), also known as the Asian catfish, is native to Southeast Asia. Their ability to wiggle across dry ground and live longer without water has earned them the nickname - walking catfish. The species thrive in derelict and swampy waters. They live in muddy ponds, rivers, canals, ditches, and similar habitats. Magur Fish are found in eastern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Characteristics of Magur Fish
- A prominent characteristic of Magur Fish is that it doesn't have scales, making the skin seem naked. It can use its skin for cutaneous respiration.
- Magur is an air-breathing fish. Apart from the gills that enable them to breathe in the water, they also have an additional accessory respiratory organ to take in atmospheric oxygen. A set of branched hollow cavities above the gills activates whenever the fish is on land.
- Magur Fish is omnivorous. Their feeding habit ranges from grasses and aquatic weeds to fish eggs, insect larvae, and even small fishes.
- Magur Fish use their pectoral fins to flop from place to place or pond to pond. They can survive on land for hours, up to a day.
- Magur Fish have up to 8 barbels (whiskers) that act as sensory organs and help them detect food. Their fins are paired (pectoral and pelvic) and unpaired (dorsal, anal, and caudal).
Advantages of the Magur Fish
- Magur Fish are high in protein and iron content and low in fat. These nutritious and delicious fish are in high demand in India and Bangladesh.
- Magur Fish are easy to culture and require relatively lesser care. They can survive in adverse environments such as high temperatures, polluted water, and lower oxygen levels.
- Magur Fish are highly tolerant and less affected by diseases. If properly reared, they can be harvested as early as six to eight months. These fish can be cultured together with carp and tilapia fish.
- Magur Fish are high priced, and their large-scale commercial production can provide high breeders. Apart from meat, they are also used as ornamental fish to be cultured in aquariums.
Breeding of Magur Fish
- June to August is the usual breeding season for Magur Fish. The female brood above 150g can spawn 5000 to 6000 eggs. Usually, brood fishes above 100g are recommended for better breeding.
- The brood Magur Fish are reared up to marketable size in earthen ponds. They may also be grown in partially improved swamps. The broods are stocked in breeding hapas in commercial hatcheries to spawn naturally.
- The brood fish are fed with a mixture of groundnut oilcake, soybean meal, rice bran, vitamins, and minerals for better performance.
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Banning of the Thai Magur Fish
The National Green Tribunal has banned the cultivation of a certain species of Magur Fish (Thai magur) since 2020. The reason was the predatory nature of the catfish that could destroy the ecological balance of water bodies. Besides, the species is also considered harmful to human health. However, despite the various awareness programs, people continue to cultivate them since they are more profitable than the local species of Magur Fish.
FAQs on Magur Fish
Q 1. What is the nutritional value of Magur Fish?
Magur Fish is highly nutritious. 100 gm of the fish contains 32 gm protein, 2gm fat, 0.7gm iron, 172mg calcium, 300mg phosphorus, and 66.3% water.
Q 2. What type of environment does a Magur Fish need to survive?
Magur Fish are highly tolerant. They can survive even in adverse environments such as high temperatures, polluted water, and lower oxygen level.
Q 3. What does a Magur Fish feed on?
Magur Fish is omnivorous. Their feeding habit ranges from grasses and aquatic weeds to fish eggs, insect larvae, and even small fishes.
Q 4. What is the breeding season of Magur Fish?
June to August is the usual breeding season for Magur Fish.
Q 5. Why is the Thai Magur Fish banned?
The Thai Magur Fish is banned because of its predatory nature. The fish is a threat to the ecology and human health.