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Prospects of fish farming in developing countries.

The potential for fish farming particularly in developing countries is great. It offers an economical source of protein rich food. It also offers that the land which are unsuitable for cultivation, can be used for fish farming. According to the UN Survey, the fish production from aquaculture in 1985 stood 10 million tons, close behind beef, pork and poultry. According to the FAO estimates at present world aquaculturer account 12 per cent of global fish production, but it will be more than double by the end of the century. FAO figures suggest the demand for aquatic foods will reach 110 million tonnes annually by the year 2000 creating a 20 million tonne gulf between supply and demand.

Over the same period there is likely to be no significant increase in the yield of oceanic catches, and in any event such fish will cost more due to rising fuel costs. At present China leads the world in fish farming like the Chinese most of the fish farmers in Asia, maintain small farms, less than one hectare each, and the yield is about 4.5 times of fish per hectare and in terms of protein 5 times better than any agricultural crop. Many farmers raise fish in conjunction with poultry and use the animal waste to fertilise then fish ponds. Fish do not use much energy to maintain body heat or for locomotion, and have a food to fresh conversion rate of 1.5 to '1 as against with beef 7 to 1 and chicken 2.3 to 1.

The economic viability of fish farming is becoming widely recognised. It is said that more than half the fish eaten in Israel are produced from fish farms. Similarly 25 per cent fish in China and in India, 11 per cent in USA and 10 per cent in Japan are aquaculture products. In developing countries, fish farms not only improve a nation's diet but bring income to small farmers and create employment particularly in rural areas. Several decades back, carp have been the stable fish used for farming and accounts about 80 per cent production.


"Stereo-breeding" involves multiple layers within the same ponds. Silver carp feed on plankton which floats on the surface. Below them, Grass Carp eat water weeds. On the bottom of the pond. Black Carp consume small shellfish and molluscus. Both crucian and Common Carp are scavengers and will devour any left-overs that settle on the bottom improvers grain production by as much as 10 per cent. Recent developments in aquaculture mean that the potential for fish-farming in Africa, especially in arid regions with sources of sea water, as well as tropical regions, is substantial. Research has shown that tilapia, an African fresh-water fish, converts food to flesh even more efficiently than carp.

The Role of Fisheries in

Economy of Pakistan

Pakistan has small coast line about (1,050 kilometers), less production of aquaculture, and low per capita consumption of fish, fisheries sector plays small role in Pakistan's economy. The total value of fish and fish products produced in Pakistan was about Rs. 4 billion or about 0.8 per cent of the country's total GDP in the same year. Out of Rs. 4 billion, approximately Rs. 1 billion was contributed by the shrimp subsector. According to Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) Estimate, in 1984, there was 219,000 full time and part time fisherman employed in addition there were about 50,000 persons employed in fish handling, processing, marketing, boat building and other subsidiary industries.

The fisheries sector in Pakistan employees about 1 per cent labour force however, in Balochistan coastal area, the marine fisheries is the largest employer of that area. Though the fisheries sector's contribution to national GDP of Pakistan is small its export earnings is great. Pakistan earned 80 million or 3 per cent from total export from the exports of fish and shrimp products in 1985.

In future the fisheries sector will, however, depend more on fresh and frozen fish as there appears little expanded shrimp production from marine fisheries. The total catch (marine and inland) fish in 1987-88, was 427,760 m. tons as against 427,760 m. tons in 1988-89. OUt of total catch 427,760 m. tons, 92,950 m. tons was fresh water fish. The catch (lives weight equivalent to landing) comprises of commercial, industrial and subsistencer catch.

Assistance by ADB

The Asian Development Bank has so far assisted (Agricultural Develpment Bank of Pakistan) ADBP in five areas, i.e. Fisheries, Livestock on farm water management, Agro Industries and forestry besides providing funds for Development loans. The Fishery Sector in Pakistan is one of the important sources of farming foreign exchange earnings. The first credit loan was sanctioned in Pakistan by ADBP in December 1970 for the development of marine fisheries resources and extensive fresh and brackish water areas available for inland fisheries and aquaculture. The loan mounted to US $6.73 million. The project completed in December 1975. The second loan was approved in 1979-80 under the aquaculture development project and was completed in December 1988. The third loan amounting to US $30 million is the continuation of the first loan and has been advanced under second marine fisheries development project.

Nepal's Fishery Project

The Asian Development Bank has approved a SDR 9.092 million ($11 million) concessional loan and technical assistance grant to Nepal for the Second Aquaculture Development Project. The greatest potential for increasing fish production lies in the culture of fish in ponds in the Terial (low-lying area), where the climate, topography and soil condition are farourable. At full development, the Project will result in an incremental fish production of about 4,300 metric tons, which will increase Nepal's per capita fish supply from 400 grams to 530 grams per year compared to 7.1 kilograms in Bangladesh, 27.3 kilograms in the Philippines and 43 kilograms in Malaysia.

System of Fresh Water

Fish Culture Carp Culture

The major cultivated fishes all over the world belong to the carp family. There are 3 major systems of carp culture such as Chinese system where Chinese carps are cultured together, the Indo-Pak system where the Indo-Pak major carps are cultured and the European system where the main species cultured, and the European system where the main species cultured is the common carp.

The major carps such as catla (Catla catla), rohu (Labeo rohita) and mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala) are the main cultivated species in Indo-Pak. They are more riverine in character in the sense that they do not ordinarily breed in confined waters. Hence, for culture purposes, their young ones were and are still collected during the monsoon season from the flooded rivers or in the vicinity of which fishes breed. Since it is difficult to segregate them species-wise at the time of their collection, their mixture along with undesirable species are stocked in the ponds. This practice eventually gave rise to the system of mixed culture of carps, i.e. polyculture, the scientific basis of which has been realized recently. This system of culture aims at raising proper number of mixed species of fish that are compatible and are able to convert all types of food materials a pond can produce, into fish protein, as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
Export of Fish & Fish
Preparations from Pakistan
 Value Quantity
Year (Rs. in million) (in m.m.m.Kg)
1985-86 1,335 35.9
1986-87 1,930 39.9
1987-88 2,186 43.6
1988-89 2,096 47.1
Source: Economic Survey 1989-90

Fish Hatchery at Tarbela

Dam Reservoir

According to a WAPDA press release issued at the end of 2nd week of March 1991, that WAPDA has planned to establish its own independent fish hatchery at Tarbela Dam Reservoir for producing 4 Million Fish Finger-Lings per annum. The hatchery has been planned on the recommendation of international Fishery experts from FAO and UNDP. Then new Development Programme for fisheries is going to Commence from next Financial Year. After completion the Hatchery will produce 850 tonnes Fish protein per annum, Gulfam and Silver Carp being the major component.

WAPDA Fisheries is currently stocking, 75,000 Fish Finger-Lings annually due to limited availability of seed. In order to optimize the Fish Production and to utilize its bio-potential fully, 1.9 million fish finger-Lings will be stocked yearly in the Reservoir. It has been reported that one of the Netted out Silver Carps last week showed five kilogram, which indicated that the growht of Silver Carp was encouraging as positive parameter of the Scientific production.

In Sindh a catch is dominated by the cat fish and major carp species. The palla fish (hil-sailisha) consists about 15 per cent of the total catch, but appears to be declining as the Indus river has been increasingly diverted for irrigation. In 1972, the total inland catch was 17,140 m. tons of palla fish (hilsaillisha) which accounted for more than 70 per cent of the total by 1986, the hilisha catch had declined to 6000 m. tons. In Sindh province, the major inland capture fisheries production come from rivers and canals and lakes.

Agriculture in Lakes/Canals

A new technology is being introduced for the production of fish culture in cases and ponds. Inder this new process, the fish will grow faster in size and weight in lesser time. After the success full implementation, this method will be introduced in wider scales in lakes and canals.

Pilot Project for Shrimpculture

The demand for shrimps has been increasing throughout the world, because this is the food item among fishers. In Pakistan shrimps are good foreign exchange earner. Though the demand is increasing, but the catch is decreasing and the cost of catches is increasing due to high cost of fuel, gear and labour for operating the trawlers in sea. For these reasons many countries of Far East Asia have introduced shrimpculture production where brakish water is available. Marineculture is now progressing in South East Asia such as Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand etc. Directorate of Fisheries Sindh, has also started a pilot project of shrimpculture in the district of Thatta measuring about 150 acres in Taluka Ghora-Bari near village Gharo.

Shrimpculture in Private Sector

The encourage and promote marineculture of shrimps in ponds about 9,000 acres of land had been leased out to 81 private parties in Ghori-Bari and Keti Bundar talukas in the district of Thatta. After the full fledged operation of shrimpculture in private sector, it is expected that Pakistan will earn substantially foreign exchange through export of extensively cultured marine shrimp.


Freshwaterfish culture aims at achieving the highest possible fish production from ponds, tanks, swamps, hill streams, lakes and reservoirs. The techniques of fish cultivation involve both management of soil and water and husbandry of fish. Management of soil and water is basically the same as in agriculture, and fish husbandry as in livestock farming. However, unlike major agriculture crops, fish do not consume water and compared to any bird or mammal used for husbandry purposes, they have the highest fecundity. These two criteria go very much in favour of fish cultivation. Besides, fish provide high-quality food rich in protein and vitamins, and contain fat, calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients necessary for human health and growth.

There has been general reluctance among aid agencies and governments to invest in aquaculture projects overseas. But some organisations have perceived the possible benefits. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank have both reported that there is great scope for expansion. In its World Food Report 1985, the FAO indicates that almost half its $53.6 million fisheries budget now is devoted to aquaculture projects.


It is better to understand the Basic Principals of fresh water fish culture and their application are essential to make fish culture a success. Fishes need adequate oxygen, food and space in which they can live and thrive. Fish culture is carried out in a variety of enclosures. Yet the rural ponds/lakes are the most popular ones. They differ widely in shape, size, topography, water supply and soil qualities etc. With the modern technique and management which exist vast water resources the countries can bring about substantial increase in fish production through fresh water fish culture.

The success of fish culture has to be evaluation from Industrial commercial point of view also. It is imperative to have clear idea of the economic evaluation of fish culture in different parts of less developed countries. This will go a longway in popularizing fresh water fish culture in developing countries including Pakistan on Scientific lines.
Below the Figures Show the Production of
Inland Fisheries in Metric Tons
Inland Fisheries Production
Year Sindh Punjab NWFP Total
1982-83 37,389 16,900 -- --
1983-84 37,405 17,870 -- --
1984-85 44,619 19,400 574 64,593
1985-86 40,567 21,400 768 62,735
Excluden Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas,
Sources: Provincial DOFs.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Economic and Industrial Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Nazri, M.M.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Previous Article:Soda ash industry in Pakistan.
Next Article:Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan.

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