Fish production in Assam has increased by 54 per cent in the past nine years, says a report of the Union ministry of agriculture and farmers' welfare.
The annual report of 2016-17, published by the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries of the ministry, says fish production has increased to 2.94 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 from 1.90 lakh tonnes in 2007-08.
Assam is predominantly a fish-eating state with 90 per cent of its population consuming fish. The increased fish production, however, is yet to meet the demand which is 3.36 lakh tonnes a year. To meet the gap, the state depends on leading fish producing states such as Andhra Pradesh
Assam produced 190 tonnes of fish in 2007-08 which increased to 200 tonnes in 2008-09, 218 tonnes in 2009-10, 227 tonnes in 2010-11, 228 tonnes in 2011-12, 254 tonnes in 2012-13, 266 tonnes in 2013-14, 282 tonnes in 2014-15 and 294 tonnes in 2016-17.
The state has 4,820km of rivers and canals and 1.35 lakh hectares of waterbodies, including tanks, ponds and floodplain and derelict waterbodies.
Assam is the highest fish-producing state in the Northeast. In 2016-17, Arunachal Pradesh produced four tonnes of fish, Manipur 32 tonnes, Meghalaya 11 tonnes, Mizoram six tonnes, Nagaland eight tonnes and Tripura 69 tonnes.
Andhra Pradesh, the top fish-producing state, produced 2,352 tonnes in 2016-17. It registered 132 per cent growth in the past nine years.
According to the report, expansion of area under aquaculture has to become an important option to boost fish production.
It says: "The Brahmaputra basin has enormous beels lying idle. There are about 1.3 million hectares of beels and other derelict waterbodies in the country. Bringing these waterbodies into the ambit of fisheries will boost fish production tremendously and hence expansion of fisheries in these waterbodies is one of the focus areas of the department for increasing fish production."