Fishes - Nutritive value
The marine fisheries of India are of importance in increasing the country's food resources and fetching a considerable amount of foreign ex-change through the export of frozen and processed marine products. Besides, the major capture fisheries, a breakthrough has been effected in recent years to initiate the culture of selected species of finfishes and crustaceans. The establishment of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Cen-tral Institute of Inland and Brackish water Aquaculture (CIBA), National In-stitute of Oceanography (NIO), Central Institue of Fresh water Aquaculture(CIFA), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has led to the gen-eration of considerable information on various aspects of Marine biology, Marine, Fresh water and Brackish water Fisheries and Oceanography. Consumption of fish for food has appreciably increased in recent years in all countries. The declaration of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has provided a great opportunity and challenge to coastal nations. In India there is good scope for development of marine resources to derive economic, social and nutritional benefits.
The nutritive and medicinal value of fish have been recognized from time immemorial. Fish flesh is an excellent source of protein in human diet. The principal biochemical contents of fish flesh are protein, fat and water. Protein constitutes about 20 percent.
The nutrional value of fish flesh is comparable and even higher than that of the flesh of birds and mammals. Fish flesh remains a good source for all essential aminoacids in needed concentrations.
The Indian pomfret (Stromateus argentius) is ranked high on the basis of its aminogram. As a child food, fish is easily tolerated by infants. Lean fish is recommended to convalescing patients.
The nutritive value of preserved and processed fish and fishery product is generally lower than that of raw fish.
Apart from direct consumption, contents in the body of fish are processed into a number of valuable products. Chief among these are :
Fish liver contains vitamin A and D in considerable quantities. Eg. shark liver oil and cod liver oil.
Fish liver oil can cure or prevent occurence of deficiency diseases such as rickets, xerophthalmia, impaired vision and eye defects, abnormalities in skin, mucous membrane and vertebrae. Fish liver oil will en-sure healthy growth of bones and teeth.
Fish body oil is obtained from the entire body of fish. Fish body oil is generally extracted from oil sardines or from less edible varieties of fishes. It is also extracted from wastes discarded from fishery industries. Some of the important uses of oil are : 1) manufacture of cheap soaps, paints and var-nishes 2) tanning of leather 3) steel and chemical industries 4) manufacture of lubricants and candles.
Fish meal is the cooked, ground and dried preparation of the fish body. It makes an excellent poultry and animal feed. It enhances egg and milk pro-duction.
Fish flour is considered an ideal protein source to supplement diet of both adults and infants. It may also be mixed with wheat and maize flour. It is also used to enrich bakery products such as cakes, breads, biscuits, soup and sweets.
All rejected and thrown out products from fishery industry are made use of as fish manure. Fish guano is obtained as waste from fish oil industries. It is a good manure.
It is a kind of good glue obtained from fin trimmings, bones and skins of fishes. Fish glue is considered as a good adhesive.
Isinglass is a high grade collagen produced from the air bladders of certain groups of fishes. It is used in the clarification of wines, beer and vinegar. It is also used in the preparation of plasters and special cements.
Tanned skin of sharks and rays are used in the manufacture of shoes, handbags and wallets.
The unique feature which differentiates fish food from other animal protein sources is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids such as linolenic acid,decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA promotes learning ability in children and improved memory in elders. DHA is essential for the foetal growth and development.
Omega fatty acid is also good for heart. It helps to control diabetis by improving insulin action. It is also reported to be good for arthritis.
The animals contributing to our economy and welfare are known as beneficial animals. Many animals provide us with nutritious food like meat and milk, clothing materials like silk and wool and the luxurious items like pearls and corals. The silk worms, the honey bees, the lac insects, fowls, fishes, prawns and crabs belong to this category.
Since time immemorial, human beings have used animals for food and other purposes. While some animals are very useful to mankind certain others cause loss to the economy of man. Though every organisms has its own im-portance in nature, some of them such as a few mammals, birds, fishes, prawns and insects have become valuable. Some pests are competitors of human be-ings for natural resources and food. Thus a study of economically important animals will always be useful.
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