The Fisheries Department, Government of Assam is implementing a five-year Gene Bank for Indigenous Fish (GBIF) project.
The little over Rs.9.36 crore project, which is being implemented through the College of Fisheries, Raha, under Assam Agricultural University, aims at conserving germplasm, propagating, and restoring Assam’s endangered fish species
Assam is the first north-eastern state to attain self-sufficiency in fish seed production with 951.9 crore fish seed fry in 2019-20, and it is supplying these to the neighboring states.
The project has three sub-projects which include the current status of ichthyofaunal diversity in Brahmaputra and Barak valleys and creation of live gene bank, development of breeding technology and culture system of selected threatened fish species, and mass awareness camp for in-situ conservation of indigenous fish germplasm involving all stakeholders of the fisheries development process.
A total of 216 fish species belonging to 36 families have been recorded and reported from the Brahmaputra and Barak river systems in Assam. Of them, around 25 have been categorized as threatened and one, the Golden Mahseer, has been listed as endangered.
Meanwhile, the domestication of 15 numbers of indigenous fish species has been successful with the development and formulation of specific feed for selected fish species. Domestication of small indigenous fish species such as kholihona, puthi, botia, bami, selkona, lauputi, tengra and chenga has been carried out.
Sample fishes have been stocked and maintained in live gene bank ponds. Mass seed production technology for selected fish species has been developed. Collection of fish samples through molecular and classical taxonomy and soil-water from both Brahmaputra and Barak valleys and their analysis and documentation with videography have been done.
Moreover, a draft directory of indigenous fish species along with a database of gene banks is ready for publication. “As the project has already completed the three-year period, a mid-term review and recasting may be required based on the present status and progress,” said Fisheries Development Officer attached to Minister Fisheries, Pratul Deka.