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|
Main river 2,
|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
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)
Production of fish
|Fish improted||Registered raw fish market||Registered dry fish market|
|Kamrup and Kamrup(m)||22,150||2,720||16||1|
- 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