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Inland Fisheries Resources of India

Inland Fisheries Resources of India

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Published by Dr. Subhendu Datta
The river system of the country comprises 14 major rivers (catchments >20,000 km2), 44 medium rivers (catchments 2,000 to 20,000 km2) and innumerable small rivers and desert streams (catchments area
The river system of the country comprises 14 major rivers (catchments >20,000 km2), 44 medium rivers (catchments 2,000 to 20,000 km2) and innumerable small rivers and desert streams (catchments area

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Published by: Dr. Subhendu Datta on Dec 05, 2013
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02/08/2014

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 1
INLAND FISHERIES RESOURCES OF INDIA
Dr. Subhendu Datta
Sr. Scientist CIFE, Kolkata Centre
Inland fish production
As against 0.24 million tonnes of fish produced in 1950-51, the production of inland fish in the country during 2003-04 was at 3.4 million tonnes, and this increase in the fish production has placed the country on second largest producer of inland fish. Even with vast increase in production over the years it is able to provide about 8 kg/caput to the present populace (taking 56% as fish eaters) against the nutritional requirement of 11 kg. The projected domestic requirement of the country by 2020
AD
is estimated at 12 million tonnes, more than ¾ of which has to come from inland sector. Inland fish production by State/UTs is given in Table 1. Table 1. Inland Fish production by states/union territories (1990 to 2002-03)
Inland water resources
The river system of the country comprises 14 major rivers (catchments >20,000 km
2
), 44 medium rivers (catchments 2,000 to 20,000 km
2
) and innumerable small rivers and desert streams (catchments area <2,000 km
2
). Different river systems of the country, having a combined length of 29,000 km, provide one of the richest fish genetic resources in the world. The floodplain lakes are primarily continuum of rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra. These are in the form of oxbow-lakes
(Mauns, Chaurs, Jheels, Beels
as they are called locally), especially in Assam, Manipur, West Bengal, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh (212.213 thosand ha). They occupy important position in the inland fisheries of India because of their magnitude as well as their production potential. Besides, the resources under ponds and tanks have been estimated at
 
 22.254 million ha and in the coastal area 1.2 million ha has been identified as potential resource for finfish and shellfish farming.
Riverine resources of India
The inland water resources harbour the original germplasm of one of the richest and diversified fish fauna of the world, comprising 930 fish species belonging to 326 genera, out of 25,000 total fish species recorded world-wide. The major river systems of India on the basis of drainage can be divided broadly into two-(i) Himalayan river system (Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra), and
(ii)
Peninsular river system (East coast and West coast river system). State-wise distribution of riverine resources of India along with their lengths is depicted in Table 2 and the details of the area and potential fish yield of the major rivers are furnished in Table 3.
Status of 
 
riverine fishery
The rivers of India are being subjected to considerable stress and accordingly the adverse effects are being manifested in poor fish landing, both in terms of quality and quantity. The prized fisheries such as Indian major carp have either collapsed or are at the threshold of collapse.
1. GANGA RIVER SYSTEM:
 
It is one of the largest river systems of the world, having a combined length (including tributaries) of 12,500 km. After originating from Himalayas, it drains into the Bay of Bengal after traversing a distance of 2,225 km. The Ganga river system harbours about 265 fish species, out of these 34 species are of commercial value including the prized Gangetic carps, large catfishes, featherbacks and murrels. In mountainous region, from source to Hardwar the fisheries are dominated by
 Schizothorax
spp., catfishes, mahseer and
 Labeo
spp. The commercial fisheries assume importance in 1,005 km middle stretch of the river (Kanpur to Farakka). The mainstay of fishery is the species belonging to cyprinidae (176 species) and siluridae (catfishes). Table 2. The profile of various river systems in India
River system Name of main river Approximate length (km) State Ganga Ganga 2,525 Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal Ranganga 569 Uttar Pradesh Gomti 940 Uttar Pradesh Ghaghra 1,080 Uttar Pradesh, Bihar Gandak 300 Bihar Kosi 492 Bihar Yamuna 1,376 Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh Chambal 1,080 Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan Tons 264 Uttar Pradesh Son 784 Uttar Pradesh Ken 360 Madhya Pradesh Brahmaputra Brahmaputra 4,000 Arunachal Pradesh Dibang, Siang, Assam Lohit, Manas, Nagaland Duri, Dihang, Sikkim Dhansri, Koppili Manipur Indus Jhelum 400 Jammu and Kashmir Ghenab 330 Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh Beas
460
Himachal Pradesh, Punjab Sutlej Himachal Pradesh, Punjab Ravi Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab East Coast Mahanadi 851 Orissa, Madhya Pradesh
 
 3
 Godavari 1,465 Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh Krishna 1,401 Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka Cauvery 800 Karnataka, Tamil Nadu Bhima 861 Karnataka West Coast Narmada 1,322 Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Tapti 720 Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Mahi 583 Gujarat
Source: CIFRI, Barrackpore, W.B.
The important species are: Gangetic major carps, catfishes, murrels, clupeids and featherbacks, besides migratory hilsa. On an average, fish yield has fluctuated in the stretch between a high of 230 tonnes to a low of 12.74 tonnes during 1958-1995 and yield of major carps on kg/ha/year basis from 83.5 to 2.55 during the above period. The mean annual landings are given in Table 1.13.
Table 3. Potential fish yield from Indian rivers based on their length and basin area
River Length (km) Basin Area (million km
2
) Catch Area based (tonnes) Stream based (tonnes)
 Himalayan Rivers
Ganga 2,525 0.88 17,443 17,142 Yamuna 1,376 0.37 5,243 8,588 Brahmaputra 800
 
0.19 1,782
 
3,958
 East Coast Rivers
Krishna 1,401
 
0.26
 
5,434
 5,365
Cauvery 800
 0.09 1,791 1,917
Mahanadi
 
800
 0.14 2,088 2,943
West Coast Rivers
Narmada
 
1,312
 
0.10
 
4,844
 
2,124
 
Tapti
720
0.06
 
1,454
 
1,294
 
Mahi
 533
0.02
 
802
 
446
 
Source: CIFRI, Barrackpore, W.B.
Table 4. Estimated mean annual landings (metric tonnes) at different centres in Ganga
 
Centres
 
1959-66 1973-81 1981-89 1989-97 Allahabad
 
207.17
 
129.63
 
128.46
 
67.55
 
Buxar
 
65.85
 
43.59
 
25.65
 
NA
 
Patna
 
81.93
 
85.5
 
70.84
 
NA
 
Bhagalpur 108.86
 
NA 62.45
 
37.79
Source: CIFRI, Barrackpore, W.B. NA = Not available
2. BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER SYSTEM:
Brahmaputra river originates from a glacier (Kubiangiri) in Tibet and has a combined length of 4,025 km including its tributaries. The upper sector of the river is not having commercial fishery of any significance. This segment harbours coldwater fishes such as
Tor tor, T. putitora, T. mosal, T. progenius, Neolissocheilus hexagonolepis,
and large catfish,
 Bagarius

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