Catfish production in India: Present status and by Dr B. Laxmappa, Fisheries Development Officer, Department of Fisheries,
atfish, 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).
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 freshwa-
ter 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. After carps, catfish production is also Table 1: Catfish production in India from increasing tremen2001 to 2010 dously throughout the Year Inland fish Catfish Catfish India since 2001 (Table: production production % 1). Out of 197 catfish (in tonnes) (in tonnes) species available in 2001 3084247 78367 2.54 Indian region, about 30 2002 3165927 101488 3.20 catfish species are eco2003 3220407 106282 3.30 nomical and which are 2004 3527505 78990 2.23 produced mainly from 2005 3727375 132342 3.55 capture fishery, and a 2006 3750736 130027 3.46 couple of catfish spe2007 4170560 125800 3.01 cies are produced from 2008 3799563 174503 4.59 both the aquaculture and capture fishery in 2009 4660463 179843 3.85 the country (Table: 2). 2010 5077200 212462 4.18 There are six catfish Table 3: Commercially cultured Catfish species in India. Sl. Family No.
Clarias batrachus (Linnaeus)
African catfish or Thai magur
Clarias gariepinus (Burchell)
Heteropneustidae Singhi or stinging catfish
16 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | September-October 2015