Cik Noorul Azliana bt. Jamaludin

20 June 2013



Prepared by
Mr. Abu Talib Ahmad & Ms. Noorul Azliana Jamaludin

1. Background

Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand are working together through the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) Project (GCP/RAS/236/GEF) towards a coordinated programme of action designed to improve the lives of the coastal populations through improved regional management of the Bay of Bengal environment and its fisheries.

The objective of Project Component 2, “Coastal/Marine Natural Resources Management and Sustainable Use”, is to promote the development and implementation of demonstrative regional and sub-regional collaborative approaches to common and/or shared issues which affect the health and status of BOBLME. Subcomponent 2.3, “Collaborative Regional Fishery Assessments and Management Plans”, supports the introduction and promotion of collaborative fisheries management approaches for selected key trans-boundary Species through the development of regional and sub-regional management plans and harmonization of data collection and standardization.

The BOBLME Project Work plan for 2012, adopted by the Project Steering Committee (PSC) in March 2012, includes the following activities:

Hilsa and Indian mackerel: Stock assessments are updated and synthesized into regional (sub-regional) assessments. Short courses and workshops on stock assessment implemented. Targeted research for the improvement of data and knowledge on key resources designed and implemented (e.g. life history parameters, stock structure, genetics, morphometrics, interaction of different fisheries sub-sectors, critical habitats for life-history stages) through country institutions. Working Group meetings held for Hilsa (3) and Indian mackerel (2). Ecosystem-Fisheries model produced.

This Inception Report relates to SEAFDEC/MFRDMD’s programme of work in support of the above activities concerning Indian mackerel (Genetic analysis) for which the SEAFDEC/MFRDMD has signed LOA/RAP/2012/35 on 2 September 2012.

The Indian Mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta) is a species of mackerel belonging to the family Scombridae of order Perciformes. It is an important food fish and is commonly used in South and South-East Asian cuisine. It is commonly found in warm shallow waters along the coasts of the Indian and West Pacific oceans, and their surrounding seas. The population structure of the Indian mackerel is largely unknown in the entire BOBLME region. Information on spawning areas and seasons is also lacking.

The implementation of the activities as outlined in this Inception Report will generate new information and knowledge on the Indian mackerel stock which will facilitate better management of the fisheries.

2. Term of Reference
2.1 Definition of Outputs and Outcomes

The major output is improved understanding of the population structure of Indian mackerel in BOBLME area (Bangladesh, Maldives and Myanmar) and in the South China Sea outside the BOBLME basin but part of the distribution range of the species. The number of fish specimens tested and the results with regard to relatedness in stocks at different locations during different times will be indicators of performance.

The improved knowledge and understanding of the population structure will facilitate better assessment of the stocks and ultimately better management of the fisheries that depend on them.

2.2 Service Provided

a. Prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Tissue Collections and Preservations.

b. Carry out a sampling programme for genetic test of specimens of Indian mackerel in the South China Sea (SCS) and undertake the genetic testing and report on the results.

c. Undertake genetic testing of samples from Bangladesh, Maldives and Myanmar, collected by the national agencies concerned, and report on the results. Standard Operating Procedure for Tissue Sample Collections and Preservation will be used as guiding document. The sample fish should be larger than 16 cm to ascertain the right species sampled. One tissue sample per fish, of 20 mg, will be placed in 1.5 ml tube contained 90% non- denatured ethanol at ratio between tissue and ethanol 1 to 4. Biological data of individual sampled fish includes body weight and standard length together with information on country name, laboratory code and location code will be recorded. The coding will be done in accordance with the agreed genetic sampling plan that was agreed upon in the working group meeting in Colombo.

Data will be collected from two selected sampling sites in the South China Sea, namely (1) Kuantan, Malaysia (for fish sampled from the western part of the SCS) and (2) Kudat, Malaysia (for fish sampled from eastern part of the SCS). A total of 100 specimens will be collected at each site. Field sampling will be done by SEAFDEC/ MFRDMD.

SEAFDEC/MFRDMD will receive 200 tissue samples from Bangladesh (Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar), 100 from Maldives (Male) and 200 from Myanmar (Yangon (for fish from Rakhine State) and Kawthaung (for fish from the Myeik archipelago) in the period December 2012 to June 2013.

In the laboratory, DNA will be extracted and amplified from all the 700 tissue samples using a standard set of microsatellite markers and the PCR products will be shipped to a common lab for genotyping. The laboratory work and genetic analysis will be undertaken at SEAFDEC/MFRDMD, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia by Ms. Wahidah Mohd Arshaad and Ms Noorul Azliana Jamaludin. The laboratory works will be assisted by one contract researcher from January until October 2013 (10 months).

Work plan and Timeframe (Duration)

The duration of the Agreement is eighteen (18) months, July 2012 – December 2013. However the work plan is only for fifteen (15) months, October 2012 – December 2013. A details schedule for producing the defined outputs is given in the table below in 2.4.

2.4 Work plan and Timeframe (Duration) – Actual

The duration of the Work Plan for fifteen (15) months, October 2012 – December 2013.

Table 1: A schedule for producing the defined outputs for Genetic Analysis of Stocks of
Indian mackerel in the Bay of Bengal under SEAFDEC/MFRDMD responsibilities.

Current activities under Genetics Stocks of Indian mackerel in the Bay of Bengal by SEAFDEC/MFRDMD

In collaboration with BOBLME, SEAFDEC/MFRDMD had started their first activities in collecting samples under study entitled “Genetics Stocks of Indian mackerel in the Bay of Bengal”.  Recently, 200 fin clip tissue samples of Indian mackerel were collected from Kudat, Sabah and Kuantan, Pahang by related researchers and staff.

The purpose of this activity is to acsess genetic structure of Indian Mackerel in the Bay of Bengal Region by using microsatellite marker.  Kudat and Kuantan were selected to represent the out-group populations; South China Sea area in this research study.  The number of fish specimens tested and the results with regard to relatedness in stocks at different locations during different times will be indicators of performance.

SEAFDEC/MFRDMD also were assigned to do genetic analysis of Indian Mackerel sampled from Bangladesh, Maldives and Myanmar.  Currently, these samples are still under sample collection activities in the respective countries.

Besides the fin clip tissue collection, information such as standard length and gonad stage of the fish was also recorded in this research activity.

For next step the collected samples will be analysed at the Conservation Genetic Laboratory in SEAFDEC/MFRDMD and the final report will be submitted by end of 2013.