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Exploring the Potential for Concurrent Rice-Fish Culture in Wetlands of Assam, North East India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar-788011, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Biological Sci., Volume 3, Issue (10), Pages 60-69, October,10 (2014)

Abstract

A study was conducted to explore the potential for concurrent rice-fish culture in the wetland rice fields of Assam, North East India. For the present study, a representative wetland located in Cachar district of Assam, North East India was selected. Water quality parameters such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, pH, free carbon dioxide, and nutrients like nitrate-N and phosphate-P were analyzed. Besides, qualitative and quantitative estimation of both phyto- and zooplankton communities in the rice fields were also done. A total of 57 genera of phytoplankton belonging to 8 classes viz., Bacillariophyceae, Chlorophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Cyanophyceae, Dinophyceae, Euglenophyceae, Xanthophyceae and Zygnemophyceae besides 19 genera of zooplankton belonging to 3 major groups viz. Cladocera, Copepoda and Rotifera were observed in the study area. The present study revealed that therice fields located in relatively low lying areas of the wetland have abundant nutrient rich water with greater abundance of both phyto- and zooplankton. Most of the water properties in the low lying areas of the wetland were comparable with the relevant standards for freshwater fishery. The study highlights the scope for utilization of the planktonic communities as live feed for fish by introducing the practice of concurrent rice-fish culture in low lying areas of wetlands. This is likely to increase the total production per unit area of wetland rice fields through production of not only the particular rice variety but also additional production of fish. Through this practice the marginal farmers in wetlands will be benefited by greater per capita fish protein availability which they can harvest from their rice fields or can sell the surplus fish to local markets. All these are likely to improve their health, income and socio-economic status.

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