MLBA6: December / January 2009
Optimism flows in India's aquaculture industry
The country's total fish production reached 6.57 million tonnes in 2005-06, comprising of 3.76 million tonnes from inland and 2.81 million tonnes from marine fisheries. The production is expected to climb to 8.4 million tonnes.
India places as the third largest producer of fish in the world, preceded by China and Peru. The country is also the second largest producer of freshwater fish, surpassed only by China, according to FAO Statistics in 2004. Freshwater aquaculture in fact accounts for 95 percent of the country's total aquaculture production.
The most important species cultured in the country are the major carps, common carp, grass carp, silver carp and giant freshwater prawn. Air breathing fish such as clariid catfish are cultured to a lesser extent. Coldwater fish such as rainbow trout, snow trout and mahseer are cultured in the uplands of northern India.
The potential for fish production from marine and inland resources has been estimated at 3.9 million tonnes and 4.5 million tonnes respectively. Having almost reached a plateau in production from the coastal waters, the scope for increasing fish production from marine sources now lies in the deep sea.
In the inland sector, there is a considerable opportunity to increase production by sustainable exploitation of the resources. The potential for fishery development for the eastern and northeastern states are immense, experts point out.