Milkfish, also known as Chanos Chanos, is a species of fish that is commonly found in the brackish waters of India. It is one of the most important fish species in the country and has been traditionally used as a food source for centuries. The milkfish is also an important commercial fish species and is widely cultivated in many parts of India.

Scientific NameChanos chanos
ColourBlue-green back with silver sides
Found in which coastal waters of IndiaCommonly found in the brackish waters along the east and west coasts of India
States its eaten as foodTamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha
IUCN statusNot Evaluated


Milkfish has a distinctive elongated body that is dark green to blue-grey in color with a silver belly. They have a forked tail and a dorsal fin that runs the length of their body. Milkfish can grow up to 1.8 meters long and weigh up to 14 kg. They have small, fine scales that are barely visible to the naked eye.


Milkfish are found in the coastal waters of India, particularly in the brackish waters of estuaries, lagoons, and mangrove swamps. They are known to inhabit both freshwater and saltwater environments and can tolerate a wide range of salinities.


Milkfish feed on a variety of food including algae, plankton, and small fish. They are also known to feed on detritus and organic matter found in the water. In captivity, they are commonly fed a diet of commercial pellets, but in the wild, their diet is more varied.

Species found in Indian waters – List

The milkfish (Chanos Chanos) is the only species of milkfish found in Indian waters.

Which parts of India is it eaten

Milkfish is widely consumed in the coastal regions of India, particularly in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. It is also popular in West Bengal, Odisha, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Importance in marine ecosystem

Milkfish plays an important role in the marine ecosystem as it is a prey species for larger predatory fish. It also contributes to the nutrient cycle by consuming detritus and organic matter and releasing it back into the water as waste.

IUCN status of Indian species

The milkfish is not listed as a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, the increasing demand for milkfish in the commercial fishing industry has led to concerns over its sustainability, and efforts are being made to promote responsible fishing practices and aquaculture.

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