Aquaculture Studies, 22(2), AQUAST657
Published by Central Fisheries Research Institute (SUMAE) Trabzon, Turkey.
P R O O F
R E S E A R C H P A P E R
Culture Possibilities of Certain Brackishwater Species at
Freshwater: A Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Salinity
Intrusion Prone Areas of Indian Sundarban Delta
Sourabh Kumar Dubey 1,*, Raman Kumar Trivedi 1 , Bimal Kinkar Chand2
1Faculty of Fishery Sciences, Department of Aquatic Environment Management, West Bengal University of Animal and
Fishery Sciences, Kolkata, India.
2Directorate of Research, Extension and Farms, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Kolkata, India.
Received 05 May 2021
Accepted 18 October 2021
First Online 21 October 2021
Saline water inundation
Brackishwater fish culture
Climate Resilient Adaptation Strategy
Salinity intrusion into coastal mainland or freshwater habitat because of recent
climatic changes is exacerbating production risks and challenging the coping capacity
of freshwater fish farmers of Sundarban coastal delta in India. Hence, an experiment
was conducted to evaluate the survival and growth performance of certain
commercially important brackish water species in freshwater, and subsequent low
salinities (5 g l−1 and 10 g l−1). Species like Scatophagus argus, Chelon parsia, Terapon
jarbua, Etroplus suratensis, and Penaeus monodon showed the highest specific growth
rate (SGR) at 10 g l-1 salinity. However, the growth rates were not differed significantly
(P>0.05) compared to freshwater. Chelon planiceps and Mystus gulio exhibited the
highest SGR at 5 g l-1 salinity, although growth rates of the fish were not differed
significantly (P>0.05) with freshwater treatments. Comparable survival and growth of
all species in the freshwater condition indicated their ability of healthy acclimation at
freshwater ponds. Therefore, these euryhaline fish species can be promoted in the
Indian Sundarban for culture in freshwater ponds as climate-resilient adaptation
strategies. This study could be useful in decision making during species and farm site
selection which eventually will minimize the risks from total crop loss during saltwater
Saltwater intrusion in freshwater and coastal
mainland caused by climate change-induced sea-level
rise as well as frequent extreme weather events (storm
surge, cyclone, etc.) are now a major concern in many
tropical deltas (Dubey et al., 2017). This salinity intrusion
is impacting freshwater fisheries and aquaculture which
limits the production efficiencies and sustainability of
the aquatic food production system (Ahmed & Diana,
2015). Although salinity is an important environmental
determinant for the physiology of aquatic organisms,
changes in ambient salinity can impacts negatively on
fish growth as well as in other physiological processes
(Boeuf & Payan, 2001; Nordlie, 2009).
Crowned with World Heritage Site and Ramsar site,
Sundarban is a unique mangrove-dominated
transboundary landscape traversed between India and
Bangladesh. Located at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal,
Sundarban has been formed mainly by the continuous
deposition of silt carried down by the Ganga,
Brahmaputra, and Meghna river system as well as its
How to cite
Dubey, S, K., Trivedi, R, K., Chand, B, K., (2022). Culture Possibilities of Certain Brackishwater Species at Freshwater: A Climate Change Adaptation
Strategy for Salinity Intrusion Prone Areas of Indian Sundarban Delta. Aquaculture Studies, 22(2), AQUAST657.
other freshwater tributaries. This coastal deltaic
ecosystem sustains marvelous faunal and floral
assemblages and supports millions of livelihoods who
depend on the vibrant natural resources of Sundarban.
Apart from the numerous crisscross networks of tidal
creeks and rivers, the Sundarban is endowed with a vast
expanse of often inland waters in the form of canals,
lakes, ponds, tanks, wetlands, and paddy fields which
always have attracted attention for its fish culture
potentials. Currently, the Indian part of Sundarban is
home to 4.5 million people, and agriculture followed by
aquaculture is the main source of livelihood. It is a
designated climate change hotspot that has experienced
various environmental changes associated with climatic
variables (UNESCO, 2009). This lower part of the
Gangetic tidal delta is susceptible to coastal flooding and
saltwater inundation during extreme weather events. In
many areas inside the Sundarban islands, freshwater
ponds have been inundated frequently by
brackishwater during coastal flooding mainly after
embankment breaching, which is converting freshwater
fishponds into oligohaline ponds. In these transformed
scenarios, several brackishwater species (euryhaline)
have a huge culture potential into freshwater ponds
where saline water inundation is a common
phenomenon and as one of the important climate-
resilient adaptation strategies. This makes the case of
Canagaratnam (1959) studied the growth of
several brackishwater and marine fishes in low salinity.
Oren (1981) extensively documented aquaculture
possibilities of brackishwater species like grey mullets
(Mugilidae). Sarig (1981) explored the possibilities of
mullets inclusion in freshwater as well as brackishwater
polyculture in Israel. Bok (1984) documented the
extensive culture of two mullet species in freshwater
impoundments in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Culture of the euryhaline species especially under the
Mugilidae family in estuarine and coastal regions is
reported from many countries like China (Chang et al.,
2004), Egypt (Bishara, 1978; Saleh, 2008), Israel
(Lupatsch et al., 2003), Italy (Luzzana et al., 2005), New
Zealand (Wells, 1984), Nigeria (Anyanwu et al., 2007), Sri
Lanka (De Silva & Perera, 1976; De Silva & Silva, 1979),
Taiwan (Chang et al., 2000), Tunisia (Khériji et al., 2003),
etc. Apart from fish species, Collins and Russell (2003)
reported that black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon
adapted quite well to freshwater conditions in Australia
because of its wide range of salinity tolerance. Similarly,
Saoud et al. (2003) studied the use of inland well waters
for the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei
culture. Araneda et al. (2008) evaluated the growth
performances of L. vannamei in freshwater at different
In India, researches on the rearing of brackishwater
fishes (mainly mullets) began probably in the 1920s
(Campbell, 1921; Hornell, 1922). From the 1940s
onwards emphasis was given on the feasibility of
acclimating mullet juveniles to freshwater and
developing polyculture technology (Oren, 1981). As per
the existing literature, the first acclimation experiments
were undertaken in Madras with Mugil troschelli
(currently Liza macrolepis) and Mugil waigiensis
(currently Liza vaigiensis) at fresh water (Devanesan &
Chacko, 1943; Job & Chako, 1947). After that,
Mookerjee et al. (1946) performed acclimatization
studies with Mugil parsia (currently Chelon parsia) in
West Bengal and Ganapati and Alikunhi (1949) studied
with Mugil cephalus and Mugil seheli (Moolgarda seheli)
in Madras. James et al. (1985) tried monoculture of grey
mullets in coastal saltwater ponds in the Mandapam
area. Jana et al. (2004) and Barman et al. (2005)
evaluated the growth performance of grey mullet in
inland saline groundwater ponds in Haryana. Biswas et
al. (2012a; 2012b; 2017) cultured striped grey mullet
Mugil cephalus in brackishwater pond with under
different management practices in Sundarban, West
Bengal. Recently Mondal et al. (2016) evaluated the
growth performances of tade mullet, Liza tade
(currently Chelon planiceps) in the brackishwater
farming system at Sundarban. Culture of other
brackishwater euryhaline fish species also been
performed by various researchers like long whiskers
catfish Mystus gulio (Begum et al., 2008), pearl spot
Etroplus suratensis (Padmakumar et al., 2009; Biswas et
al., 2012c), and spotted scat Scatophagus argus (Biona
et al., 1988a; Biona et al., 1988b; Chang et al., 2005;
Mookkan et al., 2014; Biswas et al., 2016). In 1977 – 78,
Sundararajan et al. (1979) performed monoculture of P.
monodon in brackishwater ponds in Madras, India. Saha
et al. (1999) and Chakraborti et al. (2002) evaluated the
production of P. monodon in the tide-fed low saline
ponds of Sundarban, West Bengal. Ramanathan et al.
(2004) studied the culture performance of P. monodon
in freshwater ponds in Tamil Nadu. Ray (1993)
documented brackishwater fish culture in low saline
water traditional impoundments in the Sundarban
Amid several efforts, consolidate data on survival
and growth performances of brackishwater fish in
freshwater fishponds is still unavailable that can be
useful in devising climate resilient aquaculture strategy.
Considering the above, the present study aimed to
assess the survival and growth performance of certain
brackishwater fish species in freshwater in Sundarban
coastal environments. The study could be helpful during
the farm site and species selection in freshwater
environments prone to coastal flooding in tropical deltas
Materials and Methods
Acclimatization of Species
Seven brackishwater or estuarine species viz.,
Scatophagus argus, Terapon jarbua, Chelon parsia,
Chelon planiceps, Etroplus suratensis, Mystus gulio and
black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon were chosen in this
study. The fish were procured locally from hatcheries
located in Sundarbans. The fish were kept in 10 g l−1
saline water and kept for one week. During this
acclimatization period, fish were fed with
supplementary pelleted feed in required quantities
twice daily (9 am and 4 pm). The specification of feed
was: crude protein-30%, crude fat-8%, crude Fiber-6%,
NFE (Nitrogen Free Extract)-38%, ash-8% and moisture-
10%. The gross energy content of feed was 383.2 kcal/kg
which was calculated based on standard physiological
fuel values. The feeding was stopped 24 hours (h) before
the beginning of the experiment.
Experiment Design and Setup
The approach of the study design was followed
Chand et al. (2015) and Dubey et al. (2016) with
necessary modification. A total of six rectangular
earthen ponds were used for this study and a completely
randomized design was followed. The ponds were
located at Bishnupur village of the Sagar island (latitude
21°42'6.08"N and longitude 88° 4'54.97"E), extreme
western sector of Indian Sundarban (Figure 1). The
earthen ponds were sized at about 0.02 ha and the
experiment was conducted in the pre-monsoon year of
2015. The trial was performed in two phases.
Experiments with six species were commenced in ponds
while a trial with one species M. gulio was performed in
FRP tanks (L: W: H = 1.8: 0.8: 0.6 m). Before commencing
trials, proper pond preparations were done following
standard procedures. two ponds of each were filled with
freshwater (0 g l−1), 5 g l−1, and 10 g l−1 salinities water to
perform the study. Salinities were monitored through a
refractometer and optimized periodically. The
freshwater (0 g l−1) was achieved from a groundwater
source. The brackishwater was achieved from the tidal
creek namely Bishnupur khal connected to the river
Muriganga (average salinity 20 – 30 g l−1).
In each pond with different salinities, nine hapas
(the cage made of fine nylon net) (L: W: H = 3.65: 2.45:
1.20 m) were installed with the support of bamboo
frames. The average water depth of the ponds was 1.2
m. Each hapa fitted inside different saline water ponds
was stocked by 40 acclimatized fish individuals and left
them for two months under ideal farm management. In
each pond, three hapas containing the same group of
fish are considered as replicates. In case of Mystus gulio,
the experiment was conducted in 200 l identical FRP
tanks (L: W: H = 1.8: 0.8: 0.6 m) in which 150 l water
volumes were maintained. A total of 2520 numbers of
fish individuals (3 replicates for 3 treatments X 40
individuals in each replicates X 7 species) were used in
this study. More than 50% of stocks of induvial species
were maintained separately. During the culture period,
rations were provided twice daily (8 am and 4 pm) with
supplementary pellet feed. The specification of feed as
follows: crude protein-35%, crude fat-8%, crude Fiber-
6%, NFE (Nitrogen Free Extract)- 33%, ash-8% and
moisture-10%. The gross energy content of the feed was
385.4 kcal/kg which was calculated based on standard
physiological fuel values. The daily feed amount was
calculated using the formula: stocking nos. X average
body weight X percentage of body weight feeding rate.
The percentage of body weight feeding was 2.5%.
Mortality was observed regularly while the fish were
sampled 15 days intervals to check the growth. The
bodyweight of 10 randomly sampled individuals from
each hapa was measured and the growth patterns were
Figure 1. Map of the study sites. A: India; B: West Bengal; C: Sundarban, respectively. White circle indicates the Sagar island.
assessed in terms of average daily growth (ADG, g d−1),
weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR; % d−1), and body
weight gain (BWG %) following Dubey et al. (2016).
Water Quality Monitoring
Water quality parameters like temperature (°C),
pH, and dissolved oxygen (mg l−1) were measured
fortnightly through a multi-parameter water analyzer
instrument (HANNA, HI 9828, Germany). The ammonia-
nitrogen, NH3-N (mg l−1), nitrate-nitrogen, NO3-N (mg
l−1), nitrite-nitrogen, NO2-N (mg l−1), phosphate-
phosphorus, PO4−-P (mg l−1) were measured using HACH
Spectrophotometer (DR 2800, Germany). Total alkalinity
(mg CaCO3 l−1) and total hardness (mg CaCO3 l−1) were
measured as per APHA (2012). Salinity (g l−1) was
Data attained from the experiment like survival,
growth performance, and water quality data for each
salinity treatment were analyzed using one-way analysis
of variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey (HSD) test to
determine statistical variations among different salinity
treatments (Zar, 1999). The difference was considered
statistically significant at P≤ 0.05. The analyses were
performed using IBM SPSS 20.0 statistical software.
Survival and Growth Analysis
The results of the study indicated a good survival
of all brackishwater fish species in freshwater condition
and their ability to healthy acclimation at freshwater
ponds. The survival of seven brackishwater species in
freshwater and subsequent low salinities is depicted in
Figure 2. The survival rate increased at the highest
salinity (10 g l−1) compared to the freshwater, and in
most cases, survival (%) of the fish exposed to fresh
water and 5 g l-1 salinity was not differed significantly
(P>0.05) (Figure 2). For instance, survival (%) of S. argus
significantly depended (P<0.05) on salinity and varied
between 92% (freshwater) to 96% (10 g l-1 salinity). In
case of C. parsia and T. jarbua, differences of survival (%)
were not significant (P>0.05) when cultured at fresh
water and 5 g l-1 salinity treatment. Interestingly, P.
monodon showed 78% survival in freshwater to 82% in
10 g l-1 salinity treatments and differences among them
were not significant (P>0.05) (Figure 2).
The growth parameters of all experimented fishes
in freshwater as well as saline water are presented in
Table 1. S. argus showed the highest SGR at 10 g l-1
salinity (1.17% d−1). However, the growth rates between
5 g l-1 salinity and 10 g l-1 salinity were not differed
significantly (P>0.05). In case of C. parsia, the highest
SGR was observed in the fish cultured at 10 g l-1 salinity
Figure 2. Survival (%) of some brackish water aquaculture species in fresh water and low salinities.
S. argus T. jarbua E. suratensis C. parsia C. planiceps M. gulio P. monodon
0 g l-1
5 g l-1
10 g l-1
(1.48% d−1) and the growth rates between fresh water
and 5 g l-1 salinity were not differed significantly
(P>0.05). It is fascinating to note that the growth rates
of species like E. suratensis, C. planiceps, M. gulio, and
P. monodon in fresh water and saline water were
statistically similar (P>0.05). However, the growth rates
of T. jarbua are significantly dependent on salinity
(P<0.05) and differed with freshwater treatment. The
BWG (%) of fish exposed to different salinity ponds is
given in Figure 3. In terms of BWG (%), the best growth
performance in freshwater was observed for T. jarbua
followed by C. planiceps, P. monodon, C. parsia, S. argus,
M. gulio and E. suratensis (Figure 3).
Water quality parameters were found to be
suitable throughout the experimental period (Table 2).
In the ponds, Total alkalinity values showed a significant
difference during the culture period (P<0.05). The
average water temperature (°C) over the study period
was found to be 31.96, 31.53, and 30.87 at freshwater
(0 g l−1), 5 and 10 g l−1 salinity treatment, respectively.
Water pH showed a static stage throughout the
treatment and ranged from 7.15 to 7.17. The dissolved
oxygen was found to be highest (7.03 mg l−1) at
freshwater followed by 6.98 mg l−1 in 10 g l−1 and 6.96
mg l−1 in 5 g l−1 salinity treatment. Total alkalinity showed
significant rising trends with increasing salinity and was
found to be 103.5 mg l−1 at freshwater followed by
110.75 mg l−1 at 5 g l−1 and 115.14 mg l−1 at 10 g l−1
salinity treatment. Total hardness showed a static state
(P > 0.05) throughout the treatment and ranged from
110.50 mg l−1 to 111.57 mg l−1. NH3-N (mg l−1) and NO2-
N (mg l−1) concentrations were uniforms throughout the
study length being highest at fresh water and 5 g l−1
salinity, respectively. NO3-N concentration (mg l−1) was
found to be lower in freshwater followed by and 5 g l−1
salinity and 10 g l−1, respectively.
Climate change has a dramatic effect on
freshwater fisheries and aquaculture which limits the
production efficiencies and sustainability of the aquatic
food production system. Hence, climate-resilient
aquaculture provides a means to ensure sustainable fish
supply to those who experience negative impacts of
Figure 3. Body Weight Gain (%) of some brackish water aquaculture species in fresh water and low salinities.
S. argus T. jarbua E. suratensis C. parsia C. planiceps M. gulio P. monodon
Body Weight Gain (%)
0 g l-1
5 g l-1
10 g l-1
Aquaculture Studies, 22(2), AQUAST657
Published by Central Fisheries Research Institute (SUMAE) Trabzon, Turkey.
Table 1. Growth performances of some brackish water aquaculture species in fresh water and low salinities.
Fresh water (0 g l-1)
5 g l-1
10 g l-1
IW: Initial weight (g); FW: Final weight (g); WG: Weight gain (g); SGR: Specific Growth Rate (%)
Data are presented as Mean ± SD of three replicates. Figures in parenthesis represent the range of the parameters. Values of same superscripts within a row under each category did not differ significantly (P > 0.05).
Table 2. Water quality parameters of culture ponds and FRP tanks during survival and growth performance trial of brackish water aquaculture species in fresh water at Sagar field site.
P - value
Fresh water (0 g l-1)
5 g l-1
10 g l-1
(29.9 - 34.5)
(29.7 - 33.1)
(28.4 - 33.4)
(6.8 - 7.5)
(6.7 - 7.6)
(6.8 - 7.5)
(6.45 - 7.4)
(6.5 - 7.5)
(6.5 - 7.5)
(mg CaCO3 l−1)
(100 - 106)
(105 - 116)
(109 - 118)
(mg CaCO3 l−1)
(105 - 115)
(105 - 117)
NH3-N (mg l−1)
(0.15 - 0.3)
(0.17 - 0.25)
(0.14 - 0.24)
NO3-N (mg l−1)
(0.2 - 0.31)
(0.2 - 0.31)
(0.21 - 0.31)
NO2-N (mg l−1)
(0.01 - 0.05)
(0.01 - 0.05)
(0.01 - 0.04)
PO4−-P (mg l−1)
(0.21 - 0.29)
(0.21 - 0.3)
(0.19 - 0.3)
Data are presented as Mean ± SD of three replicates during the 60-day culture period. Figures in parenthesis represent the range of the parameters. Values with the same superscripts within a row do not differ
significantly (P > 0.05).
Aquaculture Studies, 22(2),657 AQUAST657
climate change. In the present study, all experimented
brackishwater species survived and grew well in
freshwater conditions. Species such as S. argus, C.
parsia, T. jarbua, E. suratensis, and P. monodon showed
the SGR at 10 g l-1 salinity water ponds. However, the
growth rates were not differed significantly (P>0.05)
compared to freshwater ponds. C. planiceps and M.
gulio exhibited the highest SGR at 5 g l-1 salinity water
ponds, although growth rates of the fish were not
differed significantly (P > 0.05) with freshwater ponds.
As euryhaline, spotted scat S. argus thrives well in
freshwater and coastal habitats (Barry & Fast, 1992).
The spotted scat has a broad salinity tolerance range
and is more tolerant of transfers to lower salinities and
freshwater (0 g l-1 salinity) (Macahilig et al., 1988). Such
a pattern of survival probably reflects the ability of the
scat to osmoregulate better at lower osmotic pressures
than in a hypersaline environment (Macahilig et al.,
1988). The growth of S. argus was almost comparable in
both fresh water and brackishwater when it co-cultured
with milkfish Chanos chanos and did not affect the
growth and production of milkfish (Biona et al., 1988a).
In line with the present study, better survival, and
growth rate of S. argus were also noticed when cultured
in 5 g l-1 salinity than higher salinity (10, 15, 20, 25, and
30 g l-1) (Mookkan et al., 2014).
Like scats, species under the family Mugilidae
(mullets) show a great deal of euryhalinity and have a
broad salinity tolerance range (Thomson, 1966). Being
the lowest trophic level fish and omnivorous feeding
habit, mullets are suitable for monoculture and
compatible with other species in polyculture (Biswas et
al., 2012b). In India, mullets are potential candidate
species suitable for culture in brackishwater ponds and
have a high consumer preference due to their unique
taste. However, the pond culture of mullet in traditional
and semi-intensive systems mainly relies on wild seed
collection from tidal estuaries (Biswas et al., 2012a;
2017). Flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus was
successfully cultured in fresh water and various salinities
(10, 15, 20, and 25 g l-1 salinity) using inland saline
groundwater (Barman et al., 2005). The study revealed
that SGR was significantly enhanced in fish maintained
at 10 g l-1 salinity (SGR 4.70 % d−1) in comparison with
freshwater (SGR 3.12 % d−1) which supported the
findings of the present study.
Peral spot E. suratensis can thrive in marine,
estuarine and freshwater environments (Rao et al.,
2000), and is a euryhaline species with a high salinity
tolerance from 1 - 70 g l-1 (Wallace, 1975). However, to
date, little attention has been paid to the culture
practice of E. suratensis in captivity. Due to its good taste
and flesh quality, the pearl spot has high consumer
preference in the local as well as international markets
(Biswas et al., 2012c). Euryhaline nature and
omnivorous feeding habits make E. suratensis
compatible to be farmed in polyculture with both
brackishwater and freshwater fish and prawns
(Jayaprakas et al., 1990). Padmakumar et al. (2009)
evaluated the production performance of pearl spot
inside cage enclosures (salinity ranged from 0.06 to 1.28
g l-1) in the Vembanad estuarine system, on the
southwest coast of India and found SGR ranged from
0.28 to 0.75% d−1. The growth performance of pearl
spots is remarkable in the context of the present study
(SGR ranged from 0.38 to 0.50% d−1) as the pearl spots
are generally considered slow-growing species, growing
hardly to 120 - 130 g in pond conditions (Thampy, 1980;
Padmakumar et al., 2009). M. gulio is a euryhaline fish,
occurring mostly in fresh water and has also been found
to thrive in brackishwater or backwaters of low salinity
(Pandian, 1966; Talwar & Jhingran, 1991). Begum et al.
(2008) cultured M. gulio at 4-5 g l-1 salinity in nursery
ponds and observed SGR ranged from 4.91 to 5.10% d−1.
Several studies reported the effect of salinity on
the growth of black tiger shrimp P. monodon (Verghese
et al., 1975; Rajyalakshmi, 1980; Chakraborti et al.,
2002). Studies suggest that P. monodon adapted well to
the freshwater condition due to its wide salinity
tolerance range (Shivappa & Hambrey, 1997; Collins &
Russell, 2003). Navas and Sebastian (1989) reported that
low salinity of the water is more favorable for P.
monodon during the early stages, while a medium range
of salinity is conducive for faster growth in the later
Shivappa and Hambrey (1997) reported that P.
monodon can be cultured successfully using inland
freshwater in Thailand having a salinity of less than 5 g l-
1. In Australia, Collins and Russell (2003) observed
satisfactory growth of P. monodon in freshwater with an
average survival of 56 – 78%, which is very similar to the
present study. Sundarajan et al. (1979) found SGR 0.39%
d−1 while farming of P. monodon in brackishwater (10 g
l-1 salinity) monoculture system. Saha et al. (1999) also
found satisfactory growth performances of P. monodon
while culturing in low saline water. Ramanathan et al.
(2004) studied the culture performances of P. monodon
under extensive and semi-intensive systems in
freshwater conditions. In an extensive system, average
daily growth and survival were 0.18 g and 55%
respectively. In contrast, under semi-intensive systems,
average daily growth and survival were 0.16 g and 46%
respectively (Ramanathan et al., 2004). These
observations coincide well with the finding of the
present study of possibilities of P. monodon culture in
freshwater or low saline conditions.
There are various reports on the acclimation and
growth of estuarine and marine species in low salinities
or freshwater. For example, fish species like thick lip
grey mullet Chelon labrosus (Ben-Yami, 1981), juvenile
Atlantic halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus (Imsland et
al., 2008), European flounder Platichthys flesus and
turbot Scophthalmus maximus (Gutt, 1985; Gaumet et
al., 1995; Imsland et al., 2001), Juvenile golden
pompano Trachinotus ovatus (Ma et al., 2016), Juvenile
pompano Trachinotus marginatus (Abou Anni et al.,
2016), juvenile Florida pompano Trachinotus carolinus
(Weirich et al., 2009), cobia Rachycentron canadum and
the gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata (Woo & Kelly,
1995; Laiz-Carrión et al., 2005; Resley et al., 2006),
Juvenile black bream Acanthopagrus butcheri (Partridge
& Jenkins, 2002), Red drum Sciaenops ocellata (Crocker
et al., 1981), and milkfish Chanos chanos (Alava, 1998)
that exhibit satisfactory survival and growth rate in low
salinities to freshwater. Similarly, L. vannamei has been
grown in inland saline waters ranging in salinity from 2 g
l-1 to freshwater (0 g l-1) (Samocha et al., 1998; Davis et
al., 2004; Araneda et al., 2008).
When fish encounter stressful conditions, their
ionic and osmoregulatory stability disrupts and this can
be termed as ‘Osmo-respiratory compromise’ (Myrick,
2011). In freshwater, fish experience the passive gain of
water and loss of ions, which is accomplished through
the production of large volumes of dilute urine and
active uptake of ions across the gills. In saltwater, fish
offset the passive gain of ions and loss of water. This is
accomplished by drinking seawater, absorbing water,
and salts across the gut, and excreting monovalent ions
across the gills and divalent ions through the kidney
(McCormick, 2011). Nearly 95% of extant stenohaline
teleost species are osmoregulators, which means they
maintain their extracellular body fluids at a relatively
constant osmolality of ∼300 mOsmol kg-1 (isosmotic to
9 g l-1 salinity). The remaining 5% of euryhaline fishes are
osmoconformers having the capacity to tolerate a wide
range of salinities (Kültz, 2015). Nonetheless, euryhaline
fish have developed special biochemical and
physiological mechanisms to thrive in a changing salinity
regime. They can intellect osmotic stress, which induces
the instigation of osmosensory signaling mechanisms
that, in turn, regulate osmoregulatory effectors to
alleviate osmotic stress in saline water (Fiol & Kültz,
2007). Although this study did not measure biochemical
parameters of fish in a different saline environment,
euryhaline teleost fishes can regulate and maintain
plasma ionic composition and osmotic concentration in
changing salinity regimes (Nordlie, 2009; Aragão et al.,
2010). Lin et al. (2003) found no significant difference in
plasma osmolality, sodium, or chloride concentrations
of milkfish C. chanos adapted fresh water and various
strengths of saline water thus prove the extremely
euryhalinity of brackishwater fishes.
In 2009, both parts of Sundarban (West Bengal in
India and Bangladesh) has witnessed severe tropical
cyclone Aila which caused massive inland salinization
and damage freshwater farmlands. This salinity still
remains in many inland areas of the delta. Very recently,
super cyclone Amphan in 2020 again struck the
Sundarban and pushed coastal floodwater up to 15 km
inland inside the various inhabited islands. This causes
huge damage to the freshwater homestead pond-based
aquaculture inside the islands of Sundarban. The study
has two broad implications. First, in this changing
climatic scenario, certain euryhaline species have a
wider potentiality for culture in many freshwater areas
of the Indian Sundarban delta as well as other tropical
deltas where coastal flooding is a common occurrence.
Second, frequent saline water intrusion into the coastal
inland area largely due to climatic changes is converting
freshwater into the oligohaline zone that opens the
avenue of polyhaline aquaculture. Nevertheless, the low
saline traditional shrimp farming system can be further
diversified through the inclusion of more brackishwater
The study indicated that brackishwater fish and
shrimp could acclimate and grew well in fresh water and
low saline water conditions. Moreover, majorities of
experimented species are considered as candidate
species in terms of flesh texture, taste, and market price.
However, this potential can only be apprehended by the
successful artificial propagation of juveniles from
hatcheries. Considering the current and future climate
variables, more coastal areas of India are going to
become exposed to climate change impacts. Under such
a scenario, these brackish water species can be
promoted in the Indian Sundarban for culture in
freshwater ponds as climate-resilient adaptation
strategies. This study will help farmers to make a
decision on species selection that can minimize risks
from total crop loss during saltwater inundation.
However large-scale hatchery-reared seed production
and standardization of culture techniques through
farmers’ trials for enhanced production should be
The study was carried out in accordance with the
recommendations in CPCSEA (Committee for the
Purpose of Control and Supervision on Experiments on
Animals) Guidelines for Laboratory Animal Facility and
Guidelines for Care and Use of Animals in Scientific
Research Govt. of India. The experiment was performed
in a sustainable and responsible manner with the
minimal use of species.
The research work is financially supported by the
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Govt. of
India through the NICRA (National Innovations on
Climate Resilient Agriculture) project titled
“Development of Climate Resilient Aquaculture
Strategies for Sagar and Basanti Blocks of Indian
Sundarban”. The funders had no role in study design,
data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or
preparation of the manuscript.
Raman Kumar Trivedi: Conceptualization, Funding
Acquisition, Project Administration, Resources,
Supervision, Writing – Review & Editing; Bimal Kinkar
Chand: Experimental Design, Methodologies, Writing –
Review & Editing; Sourabh Kumar Dubey: Research
Investigation, Data Analysis, Writing – Original Draft
Preparation. All Authors Read and Approved the Final
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no known
competing financial or non-financial, professional, or
personal conflicts that could have appeared to influence
the work reported in this paper.
We are grateful to the Late Prof. Amalesh
Choudhury and SDMBRI, Sagar island and Sundarban
Development Board for sharing field laboratory
facilities. The authors express their sincere thankfulness
to Jalad Gayen and Sudan Roy for providing technical
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