Every state has been asked to select a representative fish as part of an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) initiative to conserve fish. Responding to the call, 12 states have already specified their state fish.
Director, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, Dr W.S. Lakra said: “Just as the country has a national bird and animal, every state will have a state fish.” The selected state fish would have to be either a major food fish or an endangered species. “Once we have information from all the states, we will develop a strategy for conservation and research,” he explained.
Once a state declares its state fish, its population, genetic structure will be studied and its different strains identified.
Several “state fish” are endangered like the Hilsa of West Bengal, Pabda of Tripura, Golden Mahaseer of Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Karimeen of Kerala and Pengba of Manipur.
The National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources will also try to conserve fish by gene banking. If any species are endangered in future, they can be retrieved with the help of endogenesis.