Inland culture fisheries in village tanks and ponds - A multi-location study in India - CAREWATER

This multi-location study on inland fisheries in village tanks and ponds attempts to map the changing institutional structure of the aquaculture sector in India

carewaterThis multi-location study by Carewater INREM Foundation on inland fisheries in village tanks and ponds attempts to map the changing institutional structure of the aquaculture sector in India. It looks at the socio-economic profile of fish farmers, problems faced by them, physical characteristics & economy of fishing ponds, existing property regimes, source of inputs, management of ponds and fishing as a part of village economy.

The inland culture fishery sector in India has seen quantum growth over the last few decades and has been marked by a shift in focus from capture fisheries in open water bodies like rivers and lakes to intensive freshwater aquaculture in village water bodies across the country. Aquaculture in village water bodies in India, in general, utilizes poly carp culture and is practiced with the utilization of low to moderate levels of inputs, especially organic-based fertilizers and feed. 

Changing dimensions in culture fishery in India: Inferences from the study -

  • India can be divided into four zones divided across productivity of water bodies and history of inland fishery in the State. These zones vary across types of ponds, productivity of ponds and the existing property regimes. The growth patterns and issues of concern differ across the zones requiring different policy prescriptions across these zones.
  • The main problem faced by fish farmers are poaching, water availability and credit. Lending by money lenders is showing an increasing trend in States where fishery has intensified.
  • Till the seventies, inland fishery in India was limited to capture fishery in open water bodies practiced by traditional fisherman communities. Most of the inland water resources were open access regimes with traditional rights for fishing with these fishing communities.
  • The village ponds were previously mainly used for livestock and domestic purposes and are now being leased out by village panchayats or irrigation department. Larger ponds are leased out to co-operatives and the smaller ones to private individuals.
  • The intensity of fishing is high in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat and Haryana due to application of manure, high stocking density and multiple stocking in the ponds. The productivity is the highest in Haryana.
  • The ownership of fish ponds is slowly changing hands to rich, influential persons who have access to credit as well as the power to protect their fishing rights. With the intensification of culture fishery, the traditional fishing communities are being relegated to providing labour to rich influential owners of fish ponds.

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