India is home to more than 10 % of fish biodiversity available across the world with more than 2200 species of fish and shellfish in the marine, inland river waters and in other sources. The country has been ranked at second place in the list of countries with highest fish production in the world. India, that produces about 6.57 million metric tonne fish every year, is only next to Japan.
The country has huge potential for both open water fisheries and fresh water aquaculture because of its great coastal line. However, the inland-sector, which showed the growth rate of 6%, has contributed as 55% of total fish production in India.
According to S Ayyapan of Indian Council of Agricultural Research said that India has huge potential in this field with great water resources of many rivers, 3.15 million hectares of reservoirs, 2.35 million hectares of ponds and tanks and 0.2 million hectares of floodplain wetlands. The potential production levels are estimated at more than 4.5 mmt per year.
Rivers are sources of precious germplasm and breeding ground for a host of fish species. Reservoirs and floodplain lakes offer an opportunity for enhancing fish production.
According to him, there is need to concentrate on community intervention in stock enhancement and resource management. The ponds, tanks and water harvesting structures should be placed in aquaculture practices by integrating a number of other farming systems that contribute as much as 87% of the total aquaculture production.
He further said that the mainstay culture practices should be linked with strong traditional knowledge. India should apply scientific strategies in aquaculture production management.
In India, fish is being popular as an important diet component these days so, aquaculture should be encouraged with a view of attain nutritional security and this sector should be seen as great provider of employment opportunities as well.