Macrobrachium malcolmsonii, the giant prawn of river Indus grows up to 250 grams. This prawn breeds from March to October and its larvae grow in brackish water. The larvae after attaining post-larval stage in about 30-45 days migrate towards freshwater. Their upstream migration is recorded at Kotri Barrage, Jamshoro and can be collected for stocking in ponds and inland water. The rearing of this prawn from hatching to post-larval stage was successfully done under laboratory conditions for the first time in Pakistan. Pond culture of Macrobrachium malcolmsonii from wild juveniles was also successfully done for the first time in Pakistan. The juvenile prawns after collection from lower belt of river Indus were stocked at farmers’ ponds in Sindh. They were fed on supplementary diet containing about 20% crude protein once daily. The stocked prawns grew in about 8 months to a total production of 750 kg/ha. Recent experiments have shown that this prawn can also be successfully grown in a polyculture system with Major and Chinese carps. This polyculture can yield 25% more profit for the farmers.
The only stumbling block for the wide spread adoption of this technology is availability of seed of the prawn. This problem can only be solved if commercial hatchery for this prawn is established.
Yaqoob, M., 1987. Larval development of freshwater commercial prawn under laboratory conditions. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Research. 8: 90-101.
Yaqoob, M., 1994. Pond culture of freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium malcolmsonii (Milne Edwards, 1844) in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology. 26:243-247.