Fisheries is an important economic activity in the state for additional employment and income generation. About 60-65% of people in the state consume fish and shell fish products. Against the estimated annual demand of 1.15 lakh tones of fish, the state is producing about 71,000 metric tones of fish annually. Rest of the demand is met with fishes from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Fisheries also generates additional employment opportunities to a large number of people engaged in harvesting, net and boat making, seed production, transportation and marketing of fish in whole sale and retail markets.

The Fisheries development programme plays an important role in development of rural areas of Jharkhand, which has vast inland water resources. Fish serves to supplement the nutritional food requirement of the people, its production generates additional employment opportunities and thus improves the income level in rural areas. It has also been realized that fisheries development could be used as a tool for bringing about socio-economic change amongst the rural farming community by providing fish production as a main/subsidiary source of occupation.

The vast inland fisheries resources in the State of Jharkhand are in the form of ponds (perennial and seasonal both), reservoirs, check dam and ahars covering a total water area of about 155000 hectares (Govt pond under department is 11765 no. covering an area of 9613 hectares, ponds under other department 3030 no. Covering area 4843 hectares, private pond 85000 no. covering an area of 40500 hectares, reservoirs 252 no. covering an area of 115000 hectares, check dams and ahars 1260 no. covering an area 4570 hectares). The Jharkhand state lags far behind the national level of fish production in spite of quite suitable agro-climatic conditions. Thus against the national average of 2150Kg/Hectare/Year, the present level of fish production in Jharkhand is about 1600 Kg/Hectare/year. The main reason for this poor performance is that most of the tanks are very old and practically unsuitable for fish culture due to heavy siltation and weed infestation

Aquaculture Resources:

  Govt. Tanks 15496 Nos. (14973 ha)
  Private Tanks 85849 Nos. (40561 ha)
  Large & medium Reservoirs 104 Nos. (94000 ha)
  Small Reservoirs 148 Nos. (21000 ha)
  Check dams & Aahars 1184 Nos. (4570 ha)
  Rivers 1800 Kms
  Govt. Fish Farms 80
  Govt. Hatcheries 12
  Private Hatcheries 19
  State Level Training Centres 2
  Aqua park 1
  State Level Research Centre 1
  Fishermen Cooperative Societies 312
  State Level Federation 1

Aims and Strategies:

The ultimate motto of fisheries development in the state is to make it self sufficient in fish production. Quality fish seeds are the most important ingredients of pisci-culture. Jharkhand needs around 100 crores fish seeds for covering the entire water area available in the state in different forms. For this the estimated requirement of spawn would be around 400 crores. Healthy and matured brooders along with viable and running fish seed hatcheries are other important requirements to achieve this noble goal. Fish culture and maintenance of healthy brood stock seems to be similar but are slightly different scientifically. The estimated quantity of healthy brood stock is around 80-100 tones of matured fish. On an average 500 leading fish farmers would be needed and to be identified as brood stockers.
The Department is also making efforts for round the year availability of fish seeds at village level and it is heading towards it.
The second most important aim of the fisheries development programmes is to make a direct link between fish producers and the consumers. With this fish producers will get the real benefit of their toil and their produce. Availability of hygienic and cheap fresh fish would be ensured through establishment of Jharkhand Fresh Fish Stalls.