Role of BPBAP Situbondo in Creating Hybrid Grouper Fish
The Association of Brackish Water Cultivated Fishery (BPBAP) of Situbondo is one of the work units under the Directorate General of Cultivated Fishery of the Ministry of Marine and Fishery (KKP). BPBAP Situbondo used to be known as the Association of Brackish Water Cultivation of Sitobondo (BBAP). In accordance with the vision of KKP, that is to build a competitive and sustainable marine and fishery for the public welfare, based on the regulation of the Ministry of Marine No. 6 in the year 2014 regarding the Organization and Working Procedure of Technical Implementation Unit of Fresh Water, Brackish Water, and Sea Water Cultivated Fishery, the nomenclature of The Association of Brackish Water Cultivation (BBAP) was then changed into the Association of Brackish Water Cultivated Fishery (BPBAP).
The top commodity of BPBAP Situbondo is Grouper fish. BPBAP Sitobondo is the center for the best grouper fish cultivation, not only in Indonesia but also in all Asia and overseas. Therefore, BPBAP Sitbondo becomes a learning center of the good and proper way of grouper fish cultivation. Grouper fish is one of the cultivated fishery commodities with high economical value both in regional and international market.
The Association of Brackish Water Cultivated Fishery (BPBAP) of Situbondo has been known as the home of grouper fish because almost all types of grouper fish are being developed and cultivated in this association. BPBAP Sitobondo has not only succeeded in producing all kinds of grouper fish, but also in breeding a new species of grouper fish from cross-breeding, usually known as hybrid grouper. Hybrid grouper is created as an effort to overcome common issues in fish cultivation such as how to obtain a fast growing superior fish seeds, low Food Conversion Ratio (FCR), and resistance towards various environmental conditions and diseases.
BPBAP Sitobondo has successfully developed a cross-breed between a female Brown-marbled Grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) and a male Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus). The hybrid is known as Cantang Grouper (Epinephelus sp). Morphologically, it is a combination of both parent species. The superiority of Cantang Grouper is its fast growth rate, which is twice as fast as the brown marbled grouper commonly cultivated by the people. While it takes 9-10 months to grow brown marbled grouper both in aquaculture ponds or floating marine cages into a size of 500 grams suitable for consumption with 1:7 feed conversion ratio (meaning, it takes 7 kg feed to rear 1 kg fish), this cantang grouper only require 4-5 months with 1:6 feed conversion ratio. In addition, cantang grouper has other advantages compared to brown marbled grouper and giant grouper such as higher resistance towards diseases, better tolerance towards unfavorable environments and small spaces, higher survivability in brackish water and sea water, and optimum growth at 15-33 ppt salinity with high density.
The Cantik Grouper is also a result of hybrid between a female Brown-marbled Grouper and a male Camouflage Grouper (Epinephelus microdon). The Cantik Grouper has a characteristic feature of pale brown or grey on its head, body, and fins. The top of the head is convex in shape, with bright black dots all over its body. The dot sizes get smaller as they get closer to the mouth. The edge of the tail fin is rounded like an arc. The Cantik Grouper has many advantages, one of which is its fast growth rate; it only takes 8 months from the rearing process until harvest. In addition, the Cantik Grouper has high resistance towards diseases.
BPBAP Situbondo is also taking measures to overcome the common issue in the humpback grouper fish cultivation which is slow growth. Hybridization is one of the measures taken. They managed to develop a cross-breed between a female Humpback Grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) and a male Giant Grouper, known as Kustang Grouper. This fish has extreme growth rate and is easy to breed. Compared to humpback grouper, its growth rate can be 4 times as fast. From a size of 10 cm, it could reach average weight of 2 kg within 15 months. Meanwhile, humpback grouper can only reach average weight of 400-500 grams within the same amount of time. From the hatchery until rearing process, kustang grouper has relatively higher resistance compared to humpback grouper. The kustang grouper hatchling morphologically represents both parent fish, the humpback and giant grouper, more dominantly the humpback grouper in color and pattern, only with less dots. The body posture looks more like the giant grouper; longer and thicker.
According to the head of BPBAP Situbondo, Ir. Ujang Komarudin, M.Sc, the entire cultivation process of grouper fish is conducted in floating marine cages. The first engineer of BPBAP Situbondo, Dony Prastowo, S.Pi, stated that the use of Aquatec floating marine cages has really helped the development and rearing process of the parent fish. Aquatec floating marine cage has advantages because of its sturdy and environmentally friendly material. In its application, marine cages are located in high seas instead of bays, and therefore a strong floating marine cage is necessary to withstand the high ocean waves. Up to this moment, Aquatec floating marine cage is the only one able to withstand the huge waves of the Situbondo seas, with waves as high as 2 meters. The flexible connection design of Aquatec floating marine cage, combined with its stainless steel bolts, make it the cage durable in high waves.
Aquatec floating marine cage has advantages such as low operational cost, and its relatively simple cultivation technology which is easily adaptable for the fishermen communities as well as cultivators. This way, the fish products can easily be marketed in fresh and alive condition. This condition is an opportunity that must be taken to improve the welfare of the coastal communities, the fishermen, cultivators, and fishery business people. Aquatec floating marine cage itself has been made as a prop to demonstrate to the people around Situbondo who want to learn how to do cultivation using HDPE marine cage.
This hybridization method is expected to produce seeds with superior genetic and morphological traits. The hybridization engineering of grouper fish in BBAP Situbondo was conducted based on SK Dirjen No. 6375/DPB.1/PB.110.D1/XII/03 on 23 December 2003 about the Establishment of Parent and Seed Fish Development Center (Shrimp, Tilapia, Seaweed, and Grouper). BBAP Situbondo served as the member of Grouper Fish Breeding Network. This activity was conducted to produce seeds of a new variety of grouper fish, that is a superior hybrid fish.
The birth of this new breed of grouper seed can help the production of seeds and consumption fish nationally to support the cultivated fishery production achievement targeted by the Ministry of Marine and Fishery. The hybrid grouper seed shows better performance compared to both parent fish, both in terms of the growth rate and the survival rate, starting from the seed production.
It has been proven that BPBAP Situbondo is one of the foremost in regards to grouper hybridization. BPBAP Situbondo owns highly productive grouper parent fish which includes the brown-marbled grouper, humpback grouper, giant grouper, and camouflage grouper, which have been used by the cultivator communities especially in Situbondo region. These grouper seeds from Situbondo are spread all across Indonesia, and even exported overseas. With the increasing types of fish produced, it is expected that the seeds availability will increase, and with more selection of variety, so that the cultivators will have plenty to choose from.
For this achievement, which makes Situbondo the center of the largest grouper seed producer in Indonesia and even Southeast Asia, the local government ordained Situbondo as the Grouper City.