New breed of grouper unveiled
Published on: Thursday, April 18, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal unveiled a new breed of grouper called Echo Grouper, produced under the State Fisheries Department’s Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Programme, at the State Legislative Assembly building lobby, Wednesday.  

Echo Grouper was successfully produced by Bayu Aquaculture Sdn Bhd, a volunteer participant of the programme on Nov. 18 last year, after five months of research, trials and observation, by backcrossing the Hybrid grouper with the Giant grouper.

“This is part of our effort to boost the fisheries sector in Sabah for the benefit of our fishing community and also in meeting the increasing demand for fish for local consumption. It also has potential to be exported,” he told reporters after the unveiling. 

The new backcross followed the success of Prof. Shigeharu Senoo from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) who in 2006 created much excitement when he successfully produced a Hybrid grouper (TGGG) by fertilising the eggs from Epinephelus fuscoguttatus, Brown-marbled grouper (also locally known as Tiger grouper, TG) with the sperm collected from Giant grouper (GG), (commonly known as Sabah Kertang or Sabah Grouper), E. lanceolatus. 

According to the company, TGGG is now widely marketed around East Asia and produced by many hatcheries around this region. TGGG has many attributes like higher ability to adapt to environmental changes, better resistance to diseases and palatable. With support and encouragement from the State Fisheries Department and UMS, Bayu Aquaculture Sdn Bhd made the breakthrough on Nov 18, 2018. 

Echo Grouper attained 12cm total length on Day 150 on April 16, this year. In this early stage, Echo Grouper has exhibited characteristics and behaviour very much similar to that of the Giant grouper. 

There is much optimism that this backcross would eventually be an ideal candidate for mass culture to lead the production of aquaculture in the country. The optimism rests on the fact this backcross Echo Grouper is similar to Giant grouper which is fast growing and has good organoleptic properties. 

A new backcross would likely make Echo Grouper resistant to common diseases. According to the company, the backcross is still under observation and has not been produced in commercial scale yet. 

The observation for this backcross would also include the maturity of the fish and whether it can propagate on its own to produce second generation. The quality of the fish would also be assessed when it reaches table size before commercial scale production begins.

It said the new backcross is welcomed with excitement and optimism that it will eventually be a choice species of grouper to be cultured, adding the propagation of giant grouper in captivity is much limited and this backcross may offer a close resemblance of Giant grouper. 

Echo Grouper would be further observed and documented to assess its suitability before made available for culture.



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