FAO FISHERIES TECHNICAL PAPER 345
Reservoir fisheries of India
central Inland Capture Fisheries Research Institute
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 1995
This is the first comprehensive review of reservoir fisheries of India, based on the analysis of published and unpublished documents. Its preparation is in response to the recognition by the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Commission Working Party of Experts on Inland Fisheries of the need to assess the potential for culture-based fisheries enhancement of reservoirs in the region. The review should serve as a baseline for any future studies as it will allow fisheries specialists and administrators to evaluate the impacts of future culture-enhancements on reservoir fisheries production and yields. The study may also serve as an example for similar studies in the region, either planned or already in preparation. A study on Sri Lanka reservoir fisheries (by S.S. DeSilva) was published in 1988 (FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 298), and Reservoir fisheries in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (by E.I. Karpova, Isaev, A.I. and Petr, T.) will appear in 1995, also in the FAO series of Fisheries Technical Papers.
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fisheries Officers
Directors of Fisheries, Indian States
FAO Representatives in Asia
Inland Waters General
Reservoir fisheries of India. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 345. Rome, FAO. 1995. 423 p.
|The existing literature on limnology and fisheries of Indian reservoirs has been reviewed by covering more than 100 reservoirs located in various parts of the country. An assessment of environment-mediated production functions of reservoirs has been attempted. Since the ecosystem processes in reservoirs belonging to different geo-climatic regions exhibit wide variations depending on meteorological, morphometric and hydro-edaphic features of the impoundments, an effort has been made to gauge the influence of these abiotic variables on the production dynamics. Authentic information on water areas under different categories of reservoirs has been collected and interpreted in respect of all the Indian States. An attempt has also been made to resolve the anomalies pertaining to classification and nomenclature to the extent possible. Various fisheries management norms followed in the reservoirs of the country including the selection of species for stocking, stocking rate and introduction of exotic species have been reviewed. Indian reservoirs have been stocked with the Indo-Gangetic carps for many decades and the impact of this stocking has been assessed in terms of fish production and the indigenous faunistic diversity. Different modes of exploitation and the types of craft and gear employed in different reservoirs of the country are discussed. The reservoir fisheries resources and their utilization are dealt with separately in respect of each State along with a few case studies describing the water quality, biotic communities, craft and gear, and fisheries management practices followed. The status of reservoir fisheries in the States has been reviewed and the factors responsible for the slow rate of development identified.|
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1. RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF INDIA
1.1 TANKS AND SMALL RESERVOIRS
1.2 CLASSIFICATION OF RESERVOIRS
1.3 DETERMINANTS OF RESERVOIR PRODUCTIVITY
1.3.1 The geoclimatic features
1.4 RESERVOIR ECOSYSTEM
1.4.1 Climatic factors
1.4.2 Morphometric factors
1.4.3 Hydro-edaphic factors
1.4.4 Biotic communities
1.4.5 Impact of reservoir formation on the native ichthyofauna
1.5 RESERVOIR FISHERIES
1.5.1 Reservoir fisheries management in India
Selection of species for stocking
Stocking measures adopted
Impact of stocking
1.5.3 Removal of predators and weed fished
1.5.4 Exotic fishes
1.5.5 Artificial eutrophication
1.5.7 Cage and pen culture
1.5.8 Craft and gear
1.5.9 Other management measures
2. TAMIL NADU
2.1 DISTRIBUTION OF RESERVOIRS
2.2 SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS IN RESERVOIRS
2.8 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN TAMIL NADU
3.1 DISTRIBUTION OF RESERVOIRS
3.6 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN KERALA
4.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF KARNATAKA
4.5 VANIVILAS SAGAR
4.9 OTHER RESERVOIR
4.10 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN KARNATAKA
4.11 TANKS OF KARNATAKA
5. ANDHRA PRADESH
5.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES
5.5 RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN ANDHRA PRADESH
6.1 RESERVOIRS OF MAHARASHTRA
6.4 OTHER RESERVOIRS
7. MADHAYA PRADESH
7.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF MADHYA PRADESH
7.7 OTHER RESERVOIRS
7.8 STATUS OF RESERVOIRS IN MADHYA PRADESH
7.9 IMPOUNDMENTS IN THE NARMADA BASIN PROFILES OF SOME RESERVOIRS
8.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF ORISSA
8.4 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN ORISSA
9.1 RESERVOIRS OF GUJARAT
10.1 DISTRIBUTION OF RESERVOIRS IN RAJASTHAN
10.5 OTHER RESERVOIRS
11. HIMACHAL PRADESH
11.1 RESERVOIRS OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
11.5 RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN HIMACHAL PRADESH
12. UTTAR PRADESH
12.1 RESERVOIRS OF UTTAR PRADESH
12.8 FISH PRODUCTION TRENDS IN THE RESERVOIRS OF UTTAR PRADESH
13.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF BIHAR
13.9 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN BIHAR
14. THE NORTHEAST
14.1 RESERVOIR FISHERIES RESOURCES OF THE NORTHEAST
14.5 OTHER RESERVOIRS
14.6 STATUS OF RESERVOIR FISHERIES IN THE REGION
Harnessing the rivers for irrigation and hydro-electric power generation has been the main focus of developmental activities in India ever since the country gained independence. Consequently, a number of small, medium and large river valley projects have come into existence during the last four and a half decades with the primary objectives of storing the river water for irrigation, power generation and a host of other activities. One of the direct results of these projects is the creation of a chain of man-made lakes, dotting the Indian landscape from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Bengal to Gujarat. That the man-made lakes hold tremendous potential for inland fisheries development in India has long been recognised. However, this vital resource is not contributing to the inland fish production of the country to the extent it should. Unlike the rivers, which are under the increasing threat of environmental degradation, the reservoirs offer ample scope for fish yield optimisation through adoption of suitable management norms. Any attempt to increase productivity in inland fisheries has to rely heavily on the reservoirs. Again, the sheer magnitude of the resource makes it possible to secure a substantial increase in production by effecting even a moderate improvement in the yield rate.
The fish production from inland waters increased from 0.22 million t in 1951–52 to 1.7 million t in 1991–92. Despite this impressive growth rate and a matching contribution from the marine sector, the per capita availability of fish in the country remains at 3.2 kg. against a world average of 12.1 kg. In the freshwater sector, comprising both inland fisheries and aquaculture, the country has targeted a production of 4.5 million t by 2000 AD. The projections in aquaculture sub-sector are not very rosy. The current level of utilization of culturable water bodies is 22% (Sarma, 1990) and it has been estimated that even at an ambitious 50% level of utilization of culturable water bodies by the turn of the century, the contribution from freshwater aquaculture would not exceed 1.24 million t (Jhingran, 1990). Inevitably, the country has to depend heavily on the inland capture fisheries resources, among which the reservoirs constitute the mainstay.
In the developed world, fisheries of inland lakes largely cater to the recreational needs, whereas in a highly populous developing country like India, these resources can play a vital role in augmenting food production for human consumption and mitigating the protein deficiency. Nearly 70% of the 0.71 million fishermen in India fish in rivers, reservoirs, lakes and other inland waters. On account of underemployment, these inland fishermen live in abject poverty and constitute one of the most vulnerable sections of the rural society. Compared to the capital-intensive aquaculture enterprises, where a good part of the profit goes to the investors, development of open water fisheries is highly labour-intensive, having the potential to provide gainful employment to the weaker sections.
Notwithstanding the overriding importance of reservoirs, documentation of this vital resource is grossly inadequate. Dearth of a firm database and lack of requisite research support are often cited as the main inhibiting factors for speedy development of reservoir fisheries in India. A reliable estimate on the fish production from the man-made lakes is still eluding us due to a number of reasons. The common property nature of the resource and the varying modes of exploitation followed by different State Governments make the centralised data collection a difficult job. Moreover, the reservoirs and their fish landing centres are highly scattered, remote and often inaccessible. The problems are further confounded by the involvement of unauthorised money lenders in the fish trade, who do not part with the catch figures due to obvious reasons. Surprisingly, no serious efforts have been made to build up a database on the reservoir fisheries resources of India, taking into account the total water area under different categories of man-made lakes, their biogenic production propensites and fish yield potential.
The biological potential of the various reservoirs was not evaluated to any reliable extent until the 1970s, when fish yield from them stood at low level of 5 to 8 kg ha-1 y-1. The investigations conducted till then were isolated attempts to unravel the ecology of individual reservoirs in one or two States. Organised research on reservoir fisheries was initiated in India only in the year 1971 with the launching of an All India Coordinated Project on Reservoir Fisheries (AICPRF). Five large reservoirs, representing distinct geoclimatic regions of the country were under its fold. The Project attempted to delve into all determinants of reservoir productivity, including climatic, morphometric and edaphic variables and the dynamics of biotic communities of the reservoir ecosystem in India. Consequently, limnology has come to be used as a mold to cast location-specific management strategy for reservoirs. The limnology-mediated management norms evolved by the AICPRF have come to be known as the ecosystem-oriented management (Natarajan, 1979). Application of these norms have resulted in a remarkable increase in fish yield in some of the Indian reservoirs. A three-pronged strategy comprising selection of appropriate mesh size of the fishing gear, increased effort and stocking support has paid rich dividends in Bhavanisagar and Gobindsagar, where the annual fish yields increased from 25.56 to 80.5 kg ha-1 and 25.0 to 76.5 kg ha-1 during the period from early 1970s to mid-1980s. The average fish yield in the country also registered an increase up to 15 kg ha-1 by the mid 1980s. The present yield is estimated at 20 kg ha-1.
As a sequel to increased productivity, a study on levels of employment and income in respect of 7 reservoirs was also taken up by CIFRI in 1984, so as to corroborate the findings in terms of increased income of fishermen. Further, it was opined that fishing operations in reservoirs should be remunerative enough to sustain fishermen who toiled on waters. Even apprehensions were voiced that stagnant levels of productivity might lead to occupational shift in favour of other unskilled vocations. Therefore, it becomes imperative to have a contingent plan to enhance productivity at least in those reservoirs whose productive potential has been well-researched.
An objective assessment of the fish production potential of Indian reservoirs has to take into account the diverse geo-climatic regions of the country, in which the water bodies are situated. Productivity of reservoirs depends, to a large extent, on the synergetic effects of a number of geochemical, meteorological, morphometric and hydrographic variables and the biotic communities present in the ecosystem. The biomass and species number of various communities show wide variations within the country, depending on the micro- and macro environment. Although Indian rivers are known for their rich fish genetic resources, the composition of fish stock in man-made lakes is subject to a series of faunistic changes brought about during the impoundment. The fish fauna is further altered through stocking and introduction of exotic species. Thus, a database on abiotic and biotic parameters, and the fish stock of the reservoir ecosystem is an essential prerequisite for a meaningful management of the resource.
Fish yield optimisation from man-made lakes has become the focus of attention in recent years and consequently, many development projects have been initiated at the State and national level to exploit the fish production potential of this resource. While the reservoir fisheries in India is well-poised for a steady growth, this document attempts to meet the long-felt need for a comprehensive status paper on the reservoir fisheries in India. This desk review is an endeavour to compile systematically all relevant information on Indian reservoirs from a fisheries perspective. The existing literature on limnology and fisheries has been reviewed, covering more than 100 reservoirs located at different parts of the country. An assessment of environment-mediated production functions of reservoirs has also been attempted. Authentic information on water areas under different categories of reservoirs has been collected and interpreted for the first time in respect of all the Indian States. In the process, the anomalies pertaining to the classification and nomenclature of reservoirs have been resolved to the extent possible.
Stocking is sine qua non for reservoir fisheries management. The Indian experience of transplanting fish species from one river basin to another and introduction of exotic species has been very revealing. The performance of stocked and introduced fishes and their impact on the indigenous ichthyofauna have been examined. The Indian rivers are known for their rich faunistic diversity and many of the native species are considered to be superior to the introduced ones in their growth performance. While there are some instances of successful transplantations where the stocked species established good breeding populations in the reservoirs leading to increased yield rates, in many cases, stocking attempts were rarely governed by any ecosystem considerations. These irrational stocking efforts were not only wasteful exercises, but they also proved to be detrimental to the native fish stocks from the conservation and yield optimisation points of view.
The three main sources of data and information for this document consist of the published research papers on Indian reservoirs, many technical reports prepared by various Government agencies and the specific information provided by the Fisheries Departments of various State Governments. The material has been presented in 14 chapters. The Chapter I gives a national perspective which includes the size and distribution of the resource, the limnological attributes of reservoirs and their production trends. Highlights of reservoir fisheries management in India, including the stocking and the role of exotic fishes have also been discussed.
The Chapters 2 to 14 present a State-wise description of reservoirs and their fisheries comprising nine States viz., Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and the Northeast. The States of West Bengal and Haryana, their reservoir areas being very small, have not been discussed under separate Chapters. The reservoirs in these two States have been accounted for in Chapter I, under the State-wise distribution of man-made lakes. Each Chapter in Section II contains a description of the reservoir fisheries resources, a few case studies on the reservoirs that have been subjected to scientific investigations and the status of reservoir fisheries in the respective States. The States have been arranged from south to north, beginning with Tamil Nadu which, apart from being the southern most State of India, has the distinction of pioneering the reservoir fisheries research in India.
Data received from some of the States were neither uniform nor comprehensive to enable a detailed analysis of various aspects of reservoir fisheries and this accounts for the variations in indepth coverage in respect of a few States. Similarly, more reservoirs have been investigated by various workers in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh than in offer States and thus there is a preponderance of information on reservoirs of these two States, compared to others. Data on morphometric, hydrographic and physico-chemical features of reservoirs provided at the end of each Chapter are intended to assist those who are inclined to build database on reservoirs.
A need has long been felt by those engaged in research, education, development and planning for a consolidated information on reservoirs, including the resources available, level of technologies and the extent of their utilisation. This document purports to fill the void by bringing together the up-to-date information available on the subject.