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Ratna Bharali Talukdar
Date of Publish: 2016-09-13

Despite import, fish consumption in  Assam still less than nutritional standard

Per capita per year intake of fish by the people of Assam - a state known for its rich cultural heritage of fish  consumption in a variety of ways, is still below the nutritional standard, which is 11 kg per capita per year. The state has a record of 217 fish species, of which 150 species have ornamental value.  In overseas market too, 50 species have ornamental value.

 

Resources and water-spread area

Resourses  Number  Water Spread Area
River Fisheries 

Main river 2,

tributaries 53
 

4,820 kms
Beels, Ox-bow lakes Registered 430 60,215 hectares 
Beels, Ox-bow lakes unregistered 767 40,600
Forest Fisheries  71 5,017 Hectres
Derelict water bodies, swamps, low lying areas  3,887 1,16,4.44 Hectares 
Reservoir Fisheries  2 2553 Hectares 
Individual Ponds 3,61,912 55,418 Hectare
Community Tanks  6,308 51,52 Hectare

 

The Economic Survey, 2015-16 states that per capita per year fish consumption in Assam is only 9 kg, despite having a huge 4.77 lakh hectares potential area of fish production. Of this huge size, beels, tanks and ponds alone cover 2.85 lakh hectares.

 

water-spread area in percentage

 

 

The river fisheries constitute 40 per cent of the total fish potential area, registered beels and ox-bow lakes constitute 21 per cent, unregistered beels and ox-bow lakes constitute 14 per cent, derelict  water-bodies constitute 1 per cent community tanks constitute 1 per cent, forets fisheries constitute 2 per cent, individual ponds constiture 19 per cent and reservoir fisheries constitute 2 per cent.

 

Fish and fish-seed production

 

Year  Fish production in Lakh Metric Tonne

Fish Seed Production

(Million Numbers) 

2010-11 2.32 4,264
2011-12 2.43 4,490
2012-13 2.54 4,363
2013-14 2.67 4,546
2014-15 2.82 4,585

 

There has been a steady growth of fish and fish-seed production for the last five years.  Fish production has increased from 2.32 Lakh MT to 2.82 Lakh MT between 2010-11 and 2014-15. Similarly fish seed production has increased from 4,264 million nos in 2010-11 to 4585 million nos during 2014-15. 

However, there is a huge gap between requirement  which is 325 thousand MT, a year and actual production. This has made the state to import huge quantity of fish from outside the state.

 

District-wise fish production, fish imported, raw and dry fish market (2014-15)

District 

Production of fish

(in tonnes)

Fish improted Registered raw fish market Registered dry fish market
Kokrajhar  4,100 450 7  
Dhubri  15,130 480 8  
Goalpara 7,600 430 4  
Barpeta 17,230 340 8  
Morigaon 13,950 290 2 1
Nagaon 29,610 475 11  
Sonitpur 8,160 495 5  
Lakhimpur 12,350 240 3  
Dhemaji  5,510 200 3  
Tinsukia 7,289 515 4  
Dibrugarh 10,660 410 3  
Sivasagar 11,260 495 3  
Jorhat 13,720 530 2  
Golaghat 8,510 450 4  
Karbi-Anglong 2,220 260 3  
Dima-Hasao 7,90 105 2  
Cachar 21,050 695 2    
Karimganj 17,750 470 4  
Hailakandi 10,180 510 2  
Bongaigaon 7,210 460 4  
Chirang  2,010 230 1  
Kamrup and Kamrup(m) 22,150 2,720 16 1
Nalbari  11,340 425 5  
Baksa 5,561 225 6  
Chirang  10,050 470 7  
Udalguri 7,250 270 2  
Assam 2,82,700 12,640 121 2

 

 

- The data has shown that each district has to depend on fish from outside the state to meet its requirement. Even after importing huge quantity of fish from outside the state, the per capita intake is still less than the recommemded nutritional standard.

-  The Economic Survey, 2015-16  has not given the break-up of per capita intake of fish in rural and urban areas. A large quantity fresh  fish produced  in villages is taken to urban areas for sale owing to detoriation of rural economy. It is improtant to assess per capita intake of fish in rural  and urban areas seperately. 

- Data has also shown that with abundant resources  for fish production, threre is huge potential to increase per hectare/per kilometer production of fish by adopting scientific aquaculture. 

- Apart from ensuring recommended intake of per capita consumption, increasing the state's own production is also vital to preserve its rich cultural hetirage associated with fish rearing, fishing  and consumption.

Ratna Bharali Talukdar

Data source - Economic Survey, Assam 2015-16

 

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