Tuesday, June 27, 2017

27/06/2017: Murrels: Living jewels of India

by Dr B. Laxmappa, District Fisheries Officer, Jogulamba Gadwal – 509 125, Telangana, India

Murrels are the third most important group of freshwater fishes after Carps and Catfishes in India


These fishes belong to the order Channiformes, family Channidae (Ophiocephalidae) that constitute the most common and dominant group of air breathing freshwater fishes and are highly regarded fish for human consumption in India.
 
There are several species of murrels belonging to the genus Channa (syn. Ophiocephalus), but only six types of murrel species are available in India (Table: 1). Among murrels, Channa striatus, Channa marulius and Channa punctatus, enjoy a good deal of popularity as food fish in many parts of India.

Besides the high quality of their flesh in terms of taste and texture, they also have good market value due to the low fat, fewer intramuscular spines, their medicinal qualities and availability in a live condition.

Murrels are also known as “Snake-heads” from the shape and appearance of the head, which resembles that of a snake. They are also noted for their air-breathing habit. On the roof of its pharynx, the fish has a pair of cavities, which have folded linings, richly supplied with blood vessels for taking in air.

These organs enable these fishes to survive out of water for a few hours or migrate from one pool to another. They are therefore called “live fishes”. Being typical “live fishes”, murrels have soft flesh, are devoid of fat and are considered to have medicinal value, providing nutritious food, particularly to the sick.

Since many years ago, murrel fingerlings have been given as medicine every year in the month of June on the eve of Mrigasirakarthi day for dispensation to asthma patients (Fish Medicine) that gather from all over the country in Hyderabad City in Telangana State.

In addition to its food value, they are highly significant in biological control of mosquito’s larvae and aquatic insect’s population in stagnant water pools, which are harmful to human beings. Murrels are popular amongst consumers in India but they’re also the most well-known game fishes because they attract the lures easily and are caught by the fish by anglers.

This not only provides entertainment to the public, it also gives a source of income to the organisers.


Read the full article, HERE.

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