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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2018)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefPrepared: March 2018

    The Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin, which Nepal shares with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and India, is one of the largest river basins and with a population of over 500 million people is the most populated river basin in the world. The rivers of the basin produce hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fish per year for human consumption. Among the fishes reported from Nepal, about 90 species are known from the mountains. This high fish diversity in the country is due to the diverse agro-ecosystem zones providing suitable habitats for different fish species. Native fish are reported to be disappearing at an alarming rate and inland fisheries are increasingly threatened due to damming, overfishing, destruction of habitats, chemical and physical water pollution, water abstraction for irrigation, deforestation and wetland reclamation. All these human activities lead to severe modifications of the aquatic ecosystem and threaten the fish populations on which the fisheries depend. Migratory species are threatened, and this is also felt in Nepal.

    Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture represented 1.0 percent of the agriculture GDP in 2012/2013. In 2017, 134 733 people were employed in aquaculture – 35 percent of which were women. For inland waters fishing 268 550 women and 180 183 men were reported to be engaged.

    In 2016, Nepal’s total fish production from both freshwater inland capture fisheries and aquaculture was 70 540 tonnes with the contribution of 49 040 tonnes from aquaculture and 21 500 tonnes from the inland capture fisheries.

    Capture fisheries is practised as an artisanal and subsistence means of livelihood by fishers living along lakes and rivers using traditional gear. Gears include cast nets, gill nets, loops, lines and hooks as well as baskets. Some unconventional fishing has emerged in recent years using explosives, electricity, and poison, which is destroying the aquatic life indiscriminately. Water bodies in Nepal are usually uncontrolled for local access, and usually, the poorest most deprived people are known to harness nearby natural resources such as water bodies or forest for their livelihood.

    Aquaculture in Nepal is characterized by small-scale production with most farmers using less than a hectare for pond polyculture, which is by far the most common aquaculture practice and system in Nepal. A great part of aquaculture production takes place in the southern part of the country, i.e. about 94 percent of all ponds - which are small village ponds - located on the Terai plain. Aquaculture has achieved fast development in Nepal in the past 10 years. Aquaculture production increased from 17 100 tonnes in 2002 to 49 040 tonnes in 2016, valued at about USD 129.4 million. They constitute silver carp, Mrigal carp, common carp, bighead carp, Rohu labeo, grass carp, catla, trout and tilapia. The Nepal Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP) has categorized fisheries and aquaculture in Nepal as a small but important and promising sub-sector of agriculture.

    Main constraints include: insufficient knowledge in fish farming techniques (e.g. in polyculture and integrated farming systems); lack of fish seed for some of the species used in polyculture practices; and the lack of transportation, post-harvest facilities and road infrastructure to promote and develop the marketing and distribution of fish and fishery products.

    Almost the entire domestic production of fish is consumed fresh by local communities. Limited amounts of fish are smoked. In rural areas where diet is generally poor and low on minerals, vitamins, etc., even a small portion of fish may be of great importance for nutrition. On average, fish provides about 6 percent of the animal protein consumed in the country and total fish consumption in 2016 amounted to 2.7 kg per capita.

    The major constraints to fish marketing and distribution are: transportation (insulated vehicles), cold storage, ice and refrigeration facilities including all-weather roads. When transported from fish producing areas to main market centres, fish is generally packed in bamboo baskets and sent by public buses. The country is now exporting some of its aquaculture production to neighbouring India. In 2017, exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 21 000, while imports were estimated USD 12.4 million.
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Key statistics

    Country area147 180km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area143 350km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area3 830km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.34.652millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2019

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statistics

    Updated 2018The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_NP.pdf

    Additional information

    Meetings & News archive


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