Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 2495–2511 | Cite as

Conservation of freshwater fish resources of India: new approaches, assessment and challenges

  • U. K. Sarkar
  • A. K. Pathak
  • W. S. Lakra
Original Paper


The freshwater resources of India are currently experiencing an alarming decline in fish biodiversity due to several factors and as a result, a sizeable portion of fresh water fishes have been categorized as threatened. This emphasizes an immediate need for initiating research and actions for alternative management techniques to protect these aquatic systems. One such option that has potential to protect freshwater ecosystem from numerous threats is the creation of freshwater aquatic sanctuary (FAS) within protected area network. Though similar conservation practices are well established in the terrestrial and marine ecosystem, however, the work on freshwater systems has been very slow and negligible. In the present communication we conceptualized the need and approach for developing FAS within the protected area network based on our observations in the water bodies of the selected wildlife sanctuaries in Northern India as well as success stories of some other countries. In this study we assessed the fish diversity in the selected protected areas of Northern India. The assessment indicated that these sanctuaries harbor 28.26–31.13% of freshwater fishes, which are threatened in other areas. Apart from Indian Major Carps, Tor putitora, Chitala chitala, Pangasius pangasius, Clupisoma gerua, Ailia coila, Aorichthys aor, Wallago attu, Rhinomugil corsula, Ompok pabda, Ombok pabo etc. were the important species encountered in the protected waters. The various issues related to FAS including objectives, approach, potential tools, implementation and management are discussed towards saving endangered fish germplasm resources. Approaches, tools and modus operandi proposed in this communication could be utilized by other developing countries in the region.


Conservation Freshwater fish diversity India Protected area Strategies Assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fish Conservation & Management, National Bureau of Fish Genetic ResourcesLucknowIndia
  2. 2.Fish Biotechnology, National Bureau of Fish Genetic ResourcesLucknowIndia

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