Amravati district affords natural facilities for the development of inland fisheries as there are about 300 tanks, in addition to the rivers. Of these 300 tanks only 35 are perennial, the rest being shallow and seasonal, but they serve the purpose of developing fishery effectively.

The tanks of Pohra, Chikhaldara, Anjangaon Bari as well as the drinking water supply tanks of Wadali and Chhatri have been brought under scientific fish culture with remarkable success during the last five years. They are stocked with fry and finger-lings of Bengal carps, viz., Catla (Catla catla), Rohu (Labeo rohita) and Mrigal (Cirrhina mrigala). These varieties are imported from West Bengal and introduced in the tanks.

The principal rivers which afford facilities for pisciculture are the Purna river and a 40-mile belt of the Tapi. Pedhi, Kholat, Shahanur, Bembla, Wardha and Chandrabhaga are the other rivers affording habitat facilities for fish life and growth. But these rivers are rather shallow and do not have enough deep pools to serve as perennial fish culturing rivers. However, the resources afforded by these rivers are exploited to a beneficial extent and varieties such as Murrel, Wallago, minor carps and several other species of lesser importance are reared.

Prospects of development of fisheries.- There is a wide scope for development of fisheries in Amravati district. The important fishery resources have been exploited and the supply of fish has been appreciably increased. The fishery administration here is looked after by an Assistant Superintendent of Fisheries and is controlled at the divisional level by the Superintendent of Fisheries, Nagpur. There are eight departmental tanks for fish-fattening operations. Encouraged by the results of pisciculture in these tanks, several private parties, grampanchayats, fisheries co-operatives are approaching for supply of Bengal carp fry and for technical guidance. Angling as a sport is also encouraged at departmental tanks. The riverine fishery is not restricted by the Government and fishermen are allowed to fish in these rivers without any lease or royalty. Thus 35 perennial tanks and eight rivers provide fair facilities for fishery development in Amravati district.

Important Fresh-Water Fauna

The following fishes are found in the tanks and rivers of  Amravati District:-


Equivalent Vernacular Names

Chana marulius (Murrel)


Chana striatus


Chana punclatus


Wallago attu


Puntius kolus


Puntius sarana


Labeo fimbriatus


Labeo bata


Mystus seengala (Singar)


Glossogobius giuris


Nandus nandus


Heteropheustes fossilis (Singi)


Clarias batrachus (Magur, Waghur)


Anguilla bengalensis


Chela clupeoides


Rasbora daniconius


Puntius ticto


Colisa fasciata


Xenentodon cancila


Besides these species of fish, several types of prawns and crabs are found in the district. Of these Palaemon carcinus is the commercially important prawn found in Wardha river.

Gear Used.

Fishermen employ fishing gear mainly of four types, viz., cast-net, drag-net, gill net and long lines.

Gill Net.

This net stands erect in the watersheet like a wall. It does not attract the fish, but provides a barrier in their way, so that the fish passing across are entangled, and gilled. The mesh size varies from 4" to 8" depending upon the size of the fish to be caught. The net consists of rectangular pieces, each of about 125' in length and 20' in breadth. The headline and the bottom line are provided with floats and sinkers, respectively. Nowadays the synthetic twines like nylon and terylene have become more popular with the fishermen as they are more durable than cotton twine.

Long Line.

It is locally called davan and contains about 50 to 100 strong hooks, suspended horizontally from a line about 150' in length. The string used is of cotton. The size of hooks varies from 1" to l/2". Earthworm, pieces of frog flesh and fish, insects, etc., are used as bait.

Cast Net.

This net is conical in shape, made of cotton twine with lead balls attached to the edges and a string fastened in the middle. Its mesh size varies from 1/2" to 3/4" and cannot be operated in deep waters. It is used on a very small scale and is not effective from the commercial point of view. It has a length of about 10 ft. and circumference of about 25'. It traps the fish by settling over them.

Drag Net.

This net, locally called Langad, is rectangular in shape and is composed of five to ten pieces, each piece being of 12' x l0' measurements. Its mesh size is 3/4" and has wooden floats attached to the upper edge and earthen beads to the lower. While spreading in the tank one end of the net is held by two men and others spread it into the tank. Then in a semi-circular fashion the other end is also brought to the shore and both ends are pulled together. It can also be operated in shallow waters.

Co-operative Movement.

With a view to improve the socio-economic condition of the fishermen and extend them financial help three co-operative societies have been formed in the district. The co-operative movement in this respect was initiated with the establishment of the Sahakari Machhimari Sanstha, Ltd., in April, 1961. The other two established at a later stage are: Pashu Sudhar and Matsya Samvardhana Co-operative Society Ltd., Karla, and Shriram Machhimari Sahakari Society Ltd., Achalpur City.

Work Done During Five-Year Plans.

During the First Five-Year Plan work in this respect, mainly consisted of establishment of a departmental demonstration-cum-production unit and the management of stocking and netting operations.

Considerable progress was made during the Second Plan. The programme of " Stocking of Inland waters with carp fry " was successfully implemented. An intensive survey of several water sheets was conducted and an area of 462 acres was brought under pisciculture. Under the abovementioned programme the tanks of Sakkar, Pohra and Chhatri were stocked with as many as 1.60,000 Bengal carp fry.

Schemes During Third Plan.

The Fisheries Department of the State Government had framed the following four schemes to be implemented during the Third Plan Period with the object of speeding up the culture of  fish in the district:-

(1) stocking or tanks with carp fry,

(2) assistance for the purchase of fishery requisites,

(3) grant of general purpose loans for the development of  fisheries, and

(4) scheme for development of co-operative fisheries.

Work Done So Far.

The total outlay on the four schemes stands at Rs. 1,00,936 for  the Third Five-Year Plan. In the first two years of the plan a  survey of water sheets covering 950 acres was made and nine tanks covering an area of 283 acres were brought under piscicul-ture. In all, twelve tanks were stocked with 6,52,000 carp fry and 250 fingerlings of quick growing variety.

Pashu Sudhar Society at Karla was supplied with carp fry variety. Up to the end of August, 1963, 6,500 kg. of fish was netted out from the departmental tanks. In addition to the successful demonstration of scientific methods of fish culture for the benefit of the fishermen a revenue of Rs. 5,994.95 was realized by the sale of marketable size of fish from the tanks.

Induced breeding experiments were conducted in the Chhatri tank but due to the late monsoons, could not achieve the desired success. Government invested a total of Rs. 3,000 in the co-operative societies and a subsidy of Rs. 1,000 was given to the Sahakari Machhimari Sanstha.

Work Proposed to be Done.

(i) Vast area of watersheets remains to be brought under pisciculture. There are 35 perennial tanks and 8 rivers in the district. So far only 12 tanks have been brought under fish culture. Remaining tanks will be surveyed and suitable ones will be brought under fish culture. It is proposed to establish at least one demonstration-cum-production unit in each block, wherever possible. Thereby fish production will be increased, fishermen's socio-economic condition will be improved and fishing trade will be augmented.

(ii) Induced breeding experiments will be conducted to produce carp fry locally.

(iii) More fishermen's societies will be organised.

(iv) Sets of nurseries will be constructed at suitable places for rearing carp fry to fingerling stage suitable for stocking.

(v) Loans and subsidies will be granted to the societies and individual fishermen for construction of fishing boats, purchase of nylon twine for making nets, and the purchase of other fishery requisites.

(vi) Amravati Municipality is being pursued to construct a fish market, for sale of fish in hygienic manner.

Fishing Communities.

The chief fishing communities in the district are Machhi Bhoi and Kharal Bhoi. The local fishery being of negligible magnitude cannot provide the fishermen with full-time employment and, therefore, they also take to poultry and sheep-rearing. At times they also work as labourers in the fields. Out of the total popula-tion of 1,232,780 of Amravati district about 4,000 persons are engaged in the fishing industry.

Co-operative Movement Amongst Fishermen.

Improvement of the socio-economic condition of fishermen has been one of the main objects of the Fisheries department. Attention is focussed on the formation of fisheries co-operatives. The first co-operative society named "Sahakari Machhimari Sanstha. Wadali " was registered on 26th April, 1961. At present there are three fishermen's co-operative societies functioning in this district. Apart from the societies' activities, fishing permits to net out fish from the departmental tanks are also given to the societies. During departmental works, such as transplantation of fingerlings, induced breeding experiments, etc., members of society are engaged on daily wages. Fishermen of Wadali society also sell marine fish (dried as well as iced) obtained by railway parcel from Bombay.

Net-making is carried out during monsoons. This serves to keep the members fully occupied.

Basis of Fishing Rights.

Fishing rights of rivers are not leased out in this district. Besides Government tanks, there are some tanks which are under the ownership of local bodies like municipality, grampanchayat, etc. Generally the tank is auctioned in favour of the highest bidder. No preference is, at present, being given to the fisheries co-operative societies or fishermen. Moreover, the tanks are not given on long-term lease to the fish farmers.