The Milkfish is a silvery marine food fish which is the only living member of the family Chanidae. It is also called by many other different names such as Bandeng, Bangos, Awa, Ibiya and Bolu.
It is the national fish in the Philippines. It is a very old fish species, and fossils of this family date from as far back as the Cretaceous Period (145.5 to 65.5 million years ago).
The Milkfish aquaculture fist occurred around 800 years ago in the Philippines and spread in Indonesia, Taiwan and into the Pacific.
Milkfish Full Information
Traditional Milkfish aquaculture relied upon restocking ponds by collecting wild fry. And this led to a wide range of variability in quality and quantity between seasons and reasons.
Farmers first spawned breeding fish successfully in the late 1970s. But they were hard to obtain and produced unreliable egg viability.
The fist spontaneous spawning happened in sea cages in 1980. These eggs were found to be sufficient to generate a constant supply for farms. Read some more information about the Milkfish below.
The Milkfish has an elongate and almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance.
It’s body color is olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. It has one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins and a sizable forked caudal fin.
Mouth of this fish is small and toothless. Lower jaw with small tubercle at tip, fitting into notch in upper jaw. There are no bony gular plate between arms of lower jaw.
These fish generally have 13-17 dorsal soft rays, 8-10 anal soft rays and 31 caudal fin rays. Caudal fin is large and deeply forked with large scale flaps at base in the mature fish.
The Milkfish can reach around 1.8 meter body length, but are most often no more than 1 meter in length. They reach a weight of about 14 kg.
Milkfish has a streamlined and elongated body that is almost completely covered in small scales. Its body is silver or grayish in color and has a distinctive forked tail.
Milkfish is a schooling fish, which means that it prefers to live in large groups. They can be found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries, where they feed on plankton, algae, and small crustaceans. Milkfish can tolerate low oxygen levels and can survive in waters with low salinity.
Milkfish typically spawns in shallow waters during the new moon and full moon periods. The females can lay up to 1 million eggs in a single spawning event. The eggs are buoyant and hatch into larvae within a day. The larvae drift with the currents for several weeks before settling in the coastal waters, where they begin to grow and mature.
Milkfish is a valuable food fish in many parts of the world. It is widely cultivated in ponds and cages in Southeast Asia, where it is a major source of protein for the local population. Milkfish is also exported to other countries, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.
The fish is versatile in the kitchen and can be prepared in many ways, including grilling, frying, and smoking. Photo and info from FAO and Wikipedia.
The Milkfish generally feed on cyanobacteria, algae and small invertebrates.
In the past, traditional feeding practices for milkfish grow-out production have consisted of natural food. Or a combination of macroalgae and phytoplankton encouraged by fertilization.
However, special commercial feeds were developed for Milkfish in the 1980s, and the feed became almost exclusively used.
Nowadays feed supplies are now manufactured commercially in the form of starters, growers and finishers. These feeds are administered according to the production stage and age of the Milkfish.
The Milkfish tend to school around coasts and islands with coral reefs. The young fry generally live at sea for 2 to 3 weeks, and then migrate during the juvenile stage to mangrove swamps, estuaries and sometimes lages.
And they return to sea to become mature and also for reproducing. The females generally spawn at night, and they lay up to 5 million eggs in saline shallow waters.
Broodstocks reach maturity in 5 years in large floating cages, but can take about 8 to 10 years in ponds and concrete tanks.
Generally fist spawning broodstocks tend to be smaller than adults caught from the wild.
As a result, fist time spawners produce fewer eggs than wild adults, but larger and older broodstocks produce as many eggs as wild adults for similar size. Broodstocks averaging 6 kg, and of about 8 years old produce 3-4 million eggs.
It is a popular fish species that is widely consumed in many parts of the world. This fish is an important source of protein and other essential nutrients, and it is also used in a variety of dishes and culinary traditions.
Here are some of the most common uses of milkfish:
Milkfish is a versatile fish that can be cooked in many different ways. It is often grilled, fried, or steamed, and it is commonly used in soups, stews, and curries.
In the Philippines, Bangus is often served for breakfast with garlic rice and egg. In Taiwan, milkfish is commonly made into fish balls, and in Indonesia, it is often used to make traditional dishes such as Pepes Ikan.
Milkfish is also an important fish species for aquaculture. It is farmed in many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin America. The fish is relatively easy to raise, and it grows quickly, making it a profitable crop for many farmers.
In some cultures, milkfish is used for its medicinal properties. In Indonesia, for example, the fish is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to treat skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. It is also believed to be good for people with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
Milkfish is also used to make fishmeal, which is a common ingredient in animal feed. The fishmeal is made by grinding up the fish and then drying it. The resulting powder is rich in protein and other nutrients, making it an important source of nutrition for many animals.
Milkfish is a popular fish for export, particularly in Southeast Asia. It is often sold in frozen form, and it is shipped to many parts of the world where it is in high demand.
Milkfish are euryhaline, stenothermic fish. They can be cultured in brackishwater, freshwater and marine waters.
But they can be cultured only in the tropical and subtropical Indian and Pacific Oceans, where temperature is greater than 20 °C.
They commonly live in tropical offshore marine waters around island and along continental shelves, at depths of 1 to 30 meters.
They also frequently enter estuaries and rivers. The Milkfish are long lived fish, and they can life for up to 15 years.
The Milkfish is a very important seafood in Southeast Asia and some Pacific Islands. It has great popularity in the market, because it is notorious for being much bonier than other food fish.
Generally fish weighting 200 to 400 grams are harvested and marketed. The Milkfish is generally marketed fresh or chilled, whole or deboned, frozen, or processed. However, review full breed profile of this fish species in the chart below.
|Binomial Name||Chanos chanos|
|Other Names||Also known as Bandeng, Bangos, Awa, Ibiya and Bolu|
|Breed Purpose||Mainly food|
|Special Notes||Economically a very important fish species of South Asia, very tasty, highly prized in the market, these fish can be cultured in brakishwater, freshwater and marine waters, long lived fish|
|Breeding Method||Natural and artificial|
|Weight||Generally harvested when they reach 200-400 grams in commercial farms, but can reach up to 14 kg|
|Water Type||Brakishwater, freshwater and marine water|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climate|
Top 7 Milkfish Interesting Facts
Here are some of the best interesting facts about milkfish:
- National fish: Milkfish is the national fish of the Philippines. It is considered an important cultural and culinary icon of the country.
- Symbolism: In ancient times, milkfish was associated with the goddess of the sea in the Philippines, who was said to have the power to control the tides and the fish.
- Unique Breeding Habits: Milkfish has unique breeding habits. Unlike many other fish species, milkfish do not lay eggs. Instead, they spawn in shallow waters and release their eggs into the water, where they hatch and grow.
- Fast-growing: Milkfish is a fast-growing fish species. It can grow up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) in just six months, making it an attractive option for aquaculture.
- High in Nutrients: Milkfish is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. It is also low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthy option for those who are watching their diet.
- Cultural Significance: Milkfish is an important part of many cultural traditions in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, for example, it is often served during special occasions and celebrations, such as weddings and birthdays.
- Sustainable Farming: Milkfish is an environmentally-friendly option for aquaculture. It is often raised in ponds or pens, which helps to prevent overfishing and reduce the impact on wild fish populations.
Frequently Asked Questions
People ask many questions about Milkfish. Here we are listing the most common questions about this fish species, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.
Is Milkfish healthy?
Milkfish is a good source of vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Selenium and contain less amount of Sodium. It is high in protein, Vitamin B12 and Niacin. So, it is a healthy fish.
What is milk fish called in India?
Milkfish is called bandeng or bangos in some parts of India. It has numerous local names in different parts of the world.
What is special about milkfish?
Milkfish is a national fish of Philippines. It is considered as one of the oldest farmed fish species in Asia. Generally, it has a symmetrical and streamlined appearance, with a sizable forked caudal fin. These fish can crow around or up to 1.7 meter in body length, but are most often about 1 meter in length. They have no teeth and they generally feed on algae and invertebrates.
Why is Milkfish called milkfish?
These fish have white, flaky flesh that is tender when cooked. After being steamed, pan-fried, or seared, the meat has a color closely resembling milk. As a result, locals began to call these creatures milkfish.
How tasty is Milkfish?
Milkfish is a very tasty and delicious fish, but it is quite bony. This fish is also good dried, smoked and used in fish balls.
Is Milkfish same as Hilsa?
No, both are different from each other. But it tastes similar to Hilsa.
Is milkfish saltwater or freshwater?
Milkfish are euryhaline, stenothermic fish. They occur and can be cultured in freshwater, brackishwater, and marine waters but only in the tropical and subtropical Indian and Pacific oceans.
Is Milkfish an oily fish?
Yes, it is an oily fish which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Is Milkfish a bony fish?
Yes, it is a very bony fish.
Can you eat skin of milkfish?
Yes, these fish can be eaten with the skin.
What do milkfish eat?
Adult fish feed on diatoms, zooplankton (including fish eggs and larvae), algae, detritus, and small amounts of sand particles.
What are the characteristics of Milkfish?
The Milkfish has an elongate and almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance. It’s body color is olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. It has one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins and a sizable forked caudal fin. Mouth of this fish is small and toothless. Lower jaw with small tubercle at tip, fitting into notch in upper jaw. There are no bony gular plate between arms of lower jaw. These fish generally have 13-17 dorsal soft rays, 8-10 anal soft rays and 31 caudal fin rays. Caudal fin is large and deeply forked with large scale flaps at base in the mature fish. These fish can reach around 1.8 meter body length, but are most often no more than 1 meter in length. They reach a weight of about 14 kg.