Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), 7 Bungalows, Versova,
Assam the popularly known land of river basin is situated in the
north-eastern part of India. She is endowed with a large number of
unique natural assets which are locally called as beels and
popularly known as floodplain lakes.
These natural assets are mostly found in floodplains of the river
Brahmaputra and Barak basin. According to the Directorate of
Fisheries of Assam (1997-98) there are 1,196 floodplain
lakes in Assam, of which 430 are registered while the
remaining 766 are unregistered. The areas covered by registered and
unregistered floodplain lakes are
60,250.24 and 40,603.37 hectares respectively. The production
potential of these water bodies are extremely high and therefore it
is a source of valuable aquatic flora and fauna and thus utilized
for harvesting of commercially important species of fishes,
crustaceans, aqua vegetable, fodders and aqua-fruits. They are
feeding and breeding ground for fish, amphibians, insects,
crustaceans and thousand of migratory birds that visits these beels
during winter. The beels have one or more of following attributes:
predominantly hydrophytes at least periodically.
predominantly hydric soil.
Substrate is non
soil, saturated with water or covered with shallow water for
sometime during the growing season of typical vegetation.
of floodplain lakes
fisheries towards the production:
lakes are major fishery resources contributing to about 25% of the
fish production in Assam. However, major portions have been rendered
unproductive due to excessive siltation and growth of weeds and only
about 33% of the potential is being utilized for fisheries
The presence of more than 95 fish species belonging to 51
genera in beels of Assam indicate a huge potentiality in terms of
fish production. The resources are composed of rich and varied
indigenous stock of carps, snakeheads, catfishes, feather backs,
perches, needlefish, loaches, spiny eels, herrings etc. Out of
indicated numbers of fish species 16 fish species are purely
ornamental, 36 fish species are purely food fish and over 43 species
are of food as well as ornamental.
present level of fisheries production in floodplain
lakes fisheries is very low, which is in between (14-488)
kg/ha with an average of 173 kg/ha. But the potential yield from the
floodplain lake is estimated as (1050-1250) kg/ha by CIFRI.
This level of production can be achieved with moderate level of
policies and regulation in floodplain lake
The leasing policy determines the access and
the allocation of the floodplain lakes. It has an important role in
this fisheries management as a large portion of floodplain lakes are
under the control of state government. According to the policy,
fisheries co-operatives are preferred for leasing out the floodplain
lakes, which can be leased out to the co-operative societies, is not
exceeding 60%. The co-operatives are given the chance to take the
bid at a lower rate than a private party. In the absence of
co-operatives, lease is preferred members of from fisherman
community. A concession of (7.5-10)% is given to the individual
lease under the specific condition. The lease period is varies from
Analysis of Floodplain lake (Beel) Fisheries:
is an abbreviated form of Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and
analysis is a good tool for evaluation of any resource system. Here
it is performed for f loodplain
water bodies are naturally highly productive.
has varied biodiversity compare to any natural inland water bodies.
stocking of fish species as these water bodies are natural breeding
from fish these are the provider of aqua-flower (water lily,
lotus), fodder and aquatic fruits (trapa).
of income for a section of people.
of irrigational water.
of proper contour structure.
technology for capture as well as culture of fish.
in preventing and cleaning aquatic macrophytes.
are more prone to dishes outbreak.
of co-ordination:- Co-ordination is a major stumbling block in
effective management of these water resources in the state.
of legislation:- Some of the beels are provided protection under
the Wildlife Protection Act, which is generally ineffective. This
is due to lack of programmatic regulatory regime for an integrated
development and management of a drainage basin and involving joint
decisions of several sector agencies. Effective coordination
between the different ministries (energy, industry, fisheries
revenue, agriculture, transport and water resources) is essential
for the protection of this ecosystem.
of beels is difficult task due to high cost of reclamation.
lows, too many corrupt and confused authorities (numerous govt.
departments), plethora of land owning government agencies,
political vested interests, and absence of a clear beel environment
full water bodies can be use for culturing high demand fish like
major carps, magur, singhi, murrels and other catfishes like
singhala etc. by non-conventional cultural techniques like pan
culture, cage culture etc.
act as ideal natural habitat for both migratory birds and domestic.
The wetlands are also home to hundreds of aquatic animals and
reptiles. It might also be a better choice for these wetlands to be
systematically converted into wildlife conservation locations,
avian parks, bird sanctuaries and recreation centers promoting
can be utilized for livelihood generation of surrounding people
through proper management.
of fish production from existing 173kg/ha to 1250 kg/ha.
now only 33% of the resource potentiality in terms of fisheries are
utilized, hence two third of resources are yet to be explore.
infestation of aquatic macrophytes and formation of pit in beel
sedimentation and pollution from surrounding areas.
fishing methods i.e.; use of small mess net, toxic material,
of pesticides from surrounding agriculture land.
of wetlands due to encroachment by
local leader for
and commercial development.
of exotic fish species in recent times in beel ecosystem.
is well known that beels are very rich in fish faunal diversity. But
with the pressure of commercialization most of the beels are
converted to commercial fisheries, and nurture only high yielding
fish species. It is not favorable for the small indigenous species
so proper legislative measures are essential. The so called ‘beauty
of beels’ indigenous and migratory aquatic birds are declining due
to illegal trapping and killing also a major concern. As most of the
beels are gradually degraded due to anthropogenic activities,
therefore conservational measure should be adopted to save these
important beels upon which a major portion of local people depends
for their day to day necessities and also for their livelihood.
assamagribusiness.nic.in assam agribusiness.nic.in
of Fisheries of Assam (1997-98),
V.V. 1995. Floodplain lakes — A fisheries prospective. In Howes,
J.R. (ed.) Conservation and
sustainable use of floodplain wetlands.
Asian wetland Bureau, Kualumpur, AWB Publication No. 113: 67-75.