MLBA6: December / January 2009


Optimism flows in India's aquaculture industry


By Rakesh Bhardwaj


The Indian aquaculture sector holds its head high, being the source of livelihood for over 14 million people in the country, generating INR80 billion each year.


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.

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