Aquaculture for all

Guidelines for Intensive Aquaculture in Ponds and Tanks

Post-harvest Carp

Tremendous potential exists in India to augment fish production from freshwater aquaculture resources, which are spread across the length and breadth of the country, says the National Fisheries Development Board.

With concerted efforts to mobilize farmers to adopt fish farming, application of appropriate technologies for sustainable fish farming and fish seed production and availability of institutional finance, it would be possible to bring in substantial hikes in the annual fish production from the aquaculture sector within a span of 5 to 6 years.

Since the mid-seventies, when composite fish farming was demonstrated through the Fish Farmers’ Development Agencies (FFDAs) and fish seed production practices were standardized, the fish production levels have increased from about 500 kg/ ha/yr to about 2200 kg/ ha/yr.

Presently, production from inland aquaculture is estimated at about 3.0 millions tonnes. During the last two decades, flexibility in operation of area and scale of intensity as also compatibility of fresh water aquaculture practices with other farming systems have made fresh water aquaculture a fast growing farming activity in the country.

Indian major carps (IMC) and exotic carps (silver carp, grass carp and common carp) form the mainstay of Indian freshwater aquaculture and contribute over 90 percent of the total fresh water aquaculture production. Besides the IMC and exotic carps, there are several other fast growing species, which include minor carps (Labeo calbasu, L. bata), catfishes (singhi, magur) and murrels Channa species) that can also be cultured as the demand for such fish species is high in certain areas of the country.

About 2.41 million hectares of water bodies are available for freshwater aquaculture in the country, of which the majority area falls under tropical warm water conditions and is amenable for increasing production and productivity levels to about 5 tonnes/ ha/ annum. With better inputs in terms of seeds, feed and fertilizers, it may be possible to bring in about 8 lakh hectares under intensive aquaculture, in a span of 5-6 years. Through adequate forward and backward linkages, another 50 000 hectares of new area can also be brought under the fold of intensive aquaculture. Such linkages will inter alia require availability of quality fish seed and capacity augmentation of farmers and entrepreneurs to take up scientific methods of fish farming and modern and efficient means of cold chain to market fish in safe and hygienic conditions.

The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) is mandated to play a critical role in this direction. An amount of Rs 620 crores have been earmarked for development of intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks and the proposed activities are expected to generate substantial investments resulting in an annual production of 26.5 lakh tonnes of fish as well as creating employment opportunities in the rural areas. The present guidelines on intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks cover a wide gamut of activities ranging from fish seed and table fish production to human resource development. The objectives of the guidelines are to bring in more clarity and objectivity, thus facilitating the implementing agencies in preparation and submission of suitable proposals in tune with the criterion evolved by the NFDB for providing assistance for development of intensive aquaculture in the country.

Components of Assistance

The NFDB will assist the following five components to support intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks:

  • Intensive aquaculture in existing ponds and tanks
  • Intensive aquaculture in new ponds and tanks
  • First-year one time inputs for intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks.
  • Establishment of hatcheries for production of fish seed.
  • Establishment of fish seed rearing units for production of fish fingerlings.
  • Training and demonstration.

Intensive aquaculture in existing tanks and ponds


It is estimated that the country has presently 24.1 lakh hectares under freshwater aquaculture. The NFDB proposes to bring about one-third (33 per cent) of this area i.e. about 8.0 lakh hectares under intensive aquaculture in the next six years. Generally, the Board will not provide subsidy for the programme. However, in areas where potential for freshwater aquaculture exists but the activity has not picked up due to various reasons, 25 percent of the estimated 8.0 lakh hectare will be covered with subsidy during a span of six years.

Eligibility criteria

The following criteria will be used to select farmers for subsidy to cover 25 percent of the estimated 8.0 lakh hectares for intensive aquaculture in existing ponds and tanks:

  • Past performance of the farmer in undertaking freshwater aquaculture.
  • Willingness/ entrepreneurship of the farmer to take up fish culture on scientific lines.
  • Assurance / Willingness of the farmer to invest working capital money from 2nd year onwards obtained from the sale of the first crop duly utilizing the NFDB assistance towards the first year input costs.
  • Bank’s consent to provide the loan/ commitment of the farmer to invest 80 per cent of the unit cost on his own.

Unit cost (investment cost)

The unit cost for renovation/ repair of one hectare (water spread area) existing fresh water tank/ pond has been estimated as Rs 30,000/Ha-. Farmers who wish to avail bank loan or who wish to invest on their own be provided with a subsidy not exceeding 20 percent of the unit cost (Rs.6,000/Ha) for all farmers except SCs/STs & NE States for whom it will be 25 per cent of the unit cost (7,500/ha). 2.2 Intensive aquaculture in new ponds and tanks

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

May 2009