Pisciculture plays an important role in the economy of India. It helps in augmenting food supply, generating employment, raising nutritional level and earning valuable foreign exchange.
Although fishing contributes only 0.8 per cent of the total national income it provides sustenance to over l million persons, about 25 per cent of whom are actively engaged in fishing operations. About 2-5 lakh crafts are used for fishing operations of which only 10 per cent are mechanised boats. There are about 1,800 marine fishing villages located along the coast.
India has a long coast line of 6,083 km and a continental shelf spreading over 3.1 lakh square km of area which has a total potential of yielding 10 million tons of fish per year. Similarly inland water bodies are capable of producing another 10 lakh tones of fish annually.
These inland water bodies include 2.25 million ha. of ponds and tanks, about 1.2 million kms of canals, 2.09 million ha of lakes and reservoirs, 1.3 million ha of bheels in Assam and Bihar, 1.64 lakh km of rivers and streams and estuaries and lakes such as Chilka, Pulicat and Loktak. Besides rice fields (2.3 million ha) are being converted into fish ponds in some states like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab to augment the fish potential.