Thursday, October 29, 2015

29/10/2015: Catfish production in India: Present status and prospects

by Dr B Laxmappa, Fisheries Development Officer, Department of Fisheries

First published in International Aquafeed, September-October 2015

Catfish, which is a significant group of the fishes in wetlands, are economically important with a high nutrient value. Catfishes, owing to their unique taste, few bones, are considered a delicacy for the fish consumers, but production of different indigenous catfishes through aquaculture is unexplored in India, although aquaculture contribution of some of the catfish varieties like Ictalurus, Silurus and Clarias spp. has been exemplary in the World scenario.

Catfishes are the second major group of freshwater fishes. India, being a mega-diverse country, harbors 197 catfish species from 52 genera. The Indian families include Amblycipitidae (Torrent catfishes), Akysidae (Stream catfishes), Bagridae (Bagrid catfishes), Chacidae (Square head or angler catfish), Clariidae (Air breathing catfishes), Heteropneustidae (Air-sac catfishes), Olyridae (Long-tail catfishes), Pangasiidae (Shark catfishes), Plotosidae (Eel-tail catfishes), Schilbeidae (Schilbid catfishes), Siluridae (Sheat fishes), Sisoridae (Sisorid catfishes).

Present status
Considering the high market demand for catfish and the availability of a huge potential resource in the form of many inland water resources, commercial farming of these species is presently receiving important attention. In India catfish production is coming from both the systems of inland resources i.e. capture and aquaculture.

Capture: The inland water resources of the country are in terms of rivers, estuaries, backwaters and lagoons, reservoirs, floodplain wetlands and upland lakes, which contribute about 1.05 million tonnes of fish annually. The principal rivers of India as Yamuna, Ganga, Brahmaputra, Mahanandi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery including their main tributaries and distributaries harbors about 11.5 percent of the fish fauna so far know in the world. Many of the catfish species start from 15 grams size (Mystus tengara) to very large about 50 kg size (Hemibagrus maydelli) harvested from these water sources in India. And many of the well-known food catfishes are also fine sporting fishes.

Aquaculture: Ponds and tanks are the prime resources for freshwater aquaculture; however, only about 40 percent of the available area is used for aquaculture currently. In northern India, open waters with in-flows are common, while southern India has watersheds, termed as tanks, largely used for crop irrigation along with carp fish culture.       

Read the full article in Milling and Grain HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

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