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Prawns, Lobsters and Crabs - ECONOMIC ZOOLOGY
The prawns are one of the most economically important fishery organism of India. It helps to earn a sizeable amount of foreign exchange. The prawns are the most esteemed food among the marine food organisms. There-fore, they are in great demand both in the local and international markets.
Export of 'prawn pulp' to Burma and Malaya from earlier times and 'frozen and canned' prawns to USA and Japan in recent years has made Indian prawns a major foreign-exchange earner. Apart from being a delicacy, prawns are a rich source of protein and vitamins (A and D). They contain considerable quantities of glycogen and free aminoacids in their muscles imparting their flesh a sweet taste. As they contain very little fat, they have become a favourite protein food for the weight conscious persons.
Penaeus indicus, P. monodon, P. japonicus, Metapenaeus dobsoni, M. monoceros M. affinis, M. brevicornis, Parapenaeopsis stylifera, P. sculptilis, Macrobrachium rosenbergii , M. malcomsonii, Palaeomon tenuipes and P. styliferus
Freshwater prawns inhabit rivers and lakes across the entire country. They migrate to brackish water for breeding. Eg. Macrobrachium, Palaeomon. Marine prawns occur in shallow coastal waters. They form large shoals close to malabar coast during the monsoon season. Penaeus, Parapenaeopsis andMeta penaeus are the important genera of the Indian coast. The practice of rearing prawns as a 'secondary crop' between November and April in the paddy fields along the coastal areas in India should be a step towards increased production of fresh water prawns.
Fresh prawns are packed in ice and sent to inland markets for consumption. Large specimens are frozen directly between layers of ice. Smallar varieties are boiled, shelled and then packed between ice. Prawns are also cured. This includes sundrying, salting and pickling.
Lobsters belong to four main groups. They are clawed or true lobsters, spiny or rock lobsters, sand or slipper lobsters and coral lob-sters. The lobsters of our country are called spiny lobsters. The economically important species of spiny lobsters are Palinurus polyphagus P. homarus, P. ornatus andP. versicolors. The lobsters are called ' f� �uh�'(Kal Eral) in Tamil.
The lobster fishery of India gained importance only recently. Its food value (proteins 15-24 %) was realised following the demand for lobsters in western countries. India is one of the prominent countries in spiny lobster marketing. The main lobster landing centres in India are Mumbai, Veraval, Kolachal, Tuticorin, Chennai, Mandapam and Kozhikode. North west coast contributes 80-90 percent of the landings with P. polyphagus being the dominant species. On the west coast P. polyphagus and P. homarus are very common and on the east coast P. polyphagus and P. ornatus are common.In the Gulf of mannar the lobster fishery is confined to the areas where coral reefs are present. The lobsters are caught throughout the year but the peak fishing season is December to January.
The lobsters are esteemed as good food particularly in foreign countries. Therefore most of the lobster catches are exported to USA, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Gulf countries, Nepal and Singapore.
The central Marine fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has carried out studies on fishery, recruitment, biology, physiology, breeding, larval rearing and culture of economically important spiny lobsters in India.
The crabs are decapod crustaceans. They are characterised by the greatly enlarged cephalothorax. The abdomen in crabs shows sexual dimorphism. In males the abdomen is narrow. In female crab the abdomen is broad. and it carries eggs during breeding season.
There are nearly six hundred crab species occurring in the Indian waters but only very few of them are being used for food purposes . The important species of crabs supporting the fishery are Matuta lunaris, Scylla serrata, Portunus sanguinolentus, and Charybdis cruciata.
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