Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission

Rabbitfish farming in Asia

Category Aquaculture

The document is a brief of showcase of a specific aquaculture innovation. It contains main information on the technique and approach used, scope and scale of application, accessibility and the outcome and benefits of the innovation.

Rabbitfish are herbivorous fish native to the Indo–Pacific region. Most rabbitfish consumed currently come from capture fisheries. The high demand for these species is causing a decline in their numbers in the wild. Rabbitfish have considerable potential for small-scale sustainable aquaculture across Southeast Asia particularly in polyculture pond systems with milkfish, mud crab or shrimp. Rabbitfish feed low in the food chain, tolerate changes in temperature and salinity, and have non-aggressive behaviour, making culture of the species easier than most other marine finfish. Currently, there are very few hatcheries producing rabbitfish fingerlings and therefore the sustainable production of these species is in its infancy. Once a hatchery is established, this can serve as a hub to produce rabbitfish locally in a sustainable manner. Grow-out and marketing of rabbitfish can provide an alternative livelihood option for coastal communities.