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Thursday, 23 November 2017



We surveyed the freshwater fish fauna of western Maharashtra on a survey trip as a group of four members conducted during the month of last December 2012. We recorded many species of fishes both endemic and rare.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Sharad Sane dreamed of a world of animals, fishes and nature. He was sensitive to all animal life from his early childhood. Our father, the late Ramchandra Sane was also a keen hobbyist and the owner of “Fur, Feather and Fish”. He would remark about his son as “Shashi is more happy among animals than among human beings” Sharad was known as Shashi in the family and close friends.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

By Shri Sharad R. Sane. I have been keeping & breeding, Ornamental Aquarium Fish from my childhood. I had my first export shipment in 1960 and the export continues till today without a break. Till January 2006 nobody was talking about Ornamental fish, though I had represented first in 1982 and then through several papers specifically on Ornamental Aquarium Fish Trade as mentioned later.  

After the Fisheries meet with the Agriculture Minister, Hon. Mr. Sharad. Pawar, on 16th &17th  January 2006? all of a sudden, everyone at different levels have started talking about  Ornamental fish.

1) In March 2006, there was a seminar at Kolkata to educate youth about self employment avenue in this field. This was organized by Kolkata Youth  Forum in association with  the W. Bengal Fisheries Department.

2) In March the M.P.E.D.A. had organized a meet of all Exporters of  Ornamental Fish to discuss several aspects,14 points were crystallized for action, such as import of Exotic Ornamental fish, Airfreight, Captive breeding of some of the valuable Indigenous Ornamental fish. Ethics for each exporter including the stocking place etc.

3) In April 2006, the meeting of the Deans of the different Fisheries Colleges took place at the C.I.F.E. Mumbai. It was agreed that the students could specialize in five topics including Ornamental fish, with a basic principle “Earn While You Learn”, The B. F. Sc. course in the 7th semester, as this will enable the students for going in for self employment after the graduation.

4) There was a meet for Quarantine Procedures etc, for all exotic fish including Ornamentals, wherein I had pointed out, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere in the world except in the Island nations, like Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Mauritius, etc have any quarantine restrictions for ornamental fish.

5) On 9th September 2006, The National Board Of Fisheries was inaugurated at Hyderabad by the Hon. Minister, Mr. Sharad Pawar, when he said that Ornamental fisheries require urgent attention.

6) Also in September 2006, there was a two-days meet about the “Introduction of Exotics”. It was rather unfortunate, though my presentation was basically on “Ornamental fishes”, I was not given sufficient time to have my power- point presentation.

In spite of so much effort, I have been thinking, why this apathy towards Ornamental fish?

1) The export earning of the Ornamental fish is nearly Rs.5 crores in comparison to over   Rs. 7000 crores of edible fish & products.

2) The basic requirements of Ornamental (Exotic) fish is different from those of  edibles, including breeding techniques.

3) It is not well understood by the authorities that this is a pet / hobby item and can never reach to Rs. 7000 crores, a misfit item, others being edible items under Marine Product Export Development Authority.

4) In Ornamental fish trade there are over 1000 species plus their mutations, as against only about 20 species in the edible sector.

5) Apparently the authorities do not understand or believe  in  small scale earning but only in large scale industries like Reliance, Godrej, Tatas and so on. Hence the basic principle “Drops Make An Ocean”, is apparently disregarded, when self employment is the basic need in India today.   

6) Producing on a large scale, of a species or a mutation can never sell like the edible fish produced.

7) They cannot be stored in any place like cold storage but must have day - to- day maintenance. Hence additional cost involved, like feeding, also disease treatment, mortality etc.

8) The authorities have an idea of having brood stock banks for imported exotic ornamental fish and only F1 generation could be sold. Is this feasible? By the time F1 is produced and released to Indian breeders, may be the prices on this may drop down drastically.


From the List of Approved / Restricted/ Banned Exotic Ornamental Fish  Freshwater Ornamental Fish Species, 41 species are approved as exotic Ornamental fish 23 species are regularly bred in India, including two restricted species, Gold fish and the Koicrap, commonly bred in South East Asian countries, including 3 species are banned and also not of much commercial importance.

6 species of Botias  there are some unconfirmed records of breeding in captivity but definitely not in commercial quantity.

9 species, breeding should be possible.

So ultimately the export trade will be getting only, may be, 9 species.

On an average of 350 to 450 species are seen in the European wholesale price lists, what dent these imports are going to have on our exports?

I am unable to understand why several groups like Killifishes, Rainbows, Gobbies are not represented, while there are several species of Tetra / Characins, small catfishes and Cichlids, which are not represented in the allowed list of imports. There should be at least 100 or more species apart from those mentioned in the appendix of my paper “Ornamental Fish Introduction In India  Status, Challenges & Potentials”

10) In Ornamental fish trade including exports, they want more varieties/ species rather than one variety in lakhs.

11) Singapore has captive bred 400 species and over 1000 varieties. As mentioned about the “Wonder fish- Puntius denisonii” in my papers “ The Export growth of the Ornamental fish  Constraints”, Probably out of the export of Rs. 5 crores this Wonder fish  Puntius denisonii contributes 50 % or so in the export value being a recent / new introductions. If this fish starts breeding in South East Asian countries, our export earning will drop down considerably, may be by 60% instead of growth.

Now we have nearly come to a stagnation point as today's export is mainly (about 95%) of only wild collected fish. Hence for increase in growth only a large variety of captive bred fish for export is necessary. This means, the table must turn to 90% captive bred & 10% wild caught.

So if you have only Blue Guppies in lakhs and no Red, Tuxedo, Gold, White, yellow, Cobra mutations you cannot export only Blue Guppies in thousands unless you sell them to re- exporting countries at  throw- away prices.   

This is the basic reason why all the developing Asian countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc. target Consumer Countries.

In comparison to the re-exporting countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka etc. the local / domestic consumption is very low, and they always have a substantial bulk of captive bred, surplus fish for export.

As against this, most of the production of captive bred fish, is utilized in the domestic market. The hobby is supposed to be growing by over 20 % per year. The prices in the domestic  wholesale markets are very high in comparison to the export prices from the Eastern Asian countries.

Government Agencies and NGO'S should help in forming co-operatives to hold the stock, bred by the community and then supply to the export trade. Also guide which species or varieties to be bred as per the requirement of the trade.


While discussing with the Governmental funding agencies and scientists, I have understood that the funding agencies are reluctant to fund basic research projects, but want to fund only applied research projects. I fail to understand, without any basic understanding on the subject how only applied research projects could have desired results.

Following are some of the topics where RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT is required for the development of the trade, which should be taken up, by ICAR, Fisheries Institution and colleges, M.P.E.D.A and other research institutes.

1) Prepared dry foods- required for special groups and general in economically- viable prices.  
2) Prepared wet foods- required for special groups and general at economically- viable prices.   
3) Investigation how to produce painted fish.

4) Natural colour enhancers additives in dry and wet foods

1) Different culture methods and standardization on economically viable basis for white worms, grindal worms, fruit flies, tent flies, small species of earthworms, (adult around 7 cms ) and so on. We have only for infsoria and Micro worms in the economically viable methods.

I know that one of the ICAR Consulting services have offered consultancies for “Production of Live Feed for Ornamental fish around Rs. 20 lakhs”, How ridiculous? when the total export is only around Rs. 5 crores.   


As explained above in my earlier papers / presentations that the trade wants more varieties / species and not one species in quantity.

One of the I C A R consulting services, have offered for production of Clown fish (Percula Clown ), one species a consultance charge of around Rs. 30 lakhs. This fish in the international export fetches a price between 0.80 and 1.00 S $. To the best of my knowledge the export requirement may not be over 3000 fish per month, at the same time no utilizing country will import only one species from a buyer. South East Asian countries may buy one species at throw- away prices.


1) Clinical / visible identification of several diseases which could be considered as contagious as this may cause mass mortality if not treated in time.

2) Free- of - cost postmortem / and other examination for pin- pointing the causes of mortality.

3) Stress factor causing mortality.

4)Fishery veterinarians to visit establishments of breeders, exporters and so on preferably every week and advise on the problems at a nominal or no charge.M.P.E.D.A or the government agencies should bear these expenses of stipends etc.

5) The Exporters require Veterinary health certificate from the authorities, These charges are different in ports of exports and vary from Rs. 500/- to Rs. 5000/- per shipment.

Some of the ICRA and other institutes charge Rs.500/- minimum for 5 species and additional species Rs 100/- per species. There are generally 20 species in the shipment to consumer countries, so one can understand these charges which are around 5% value of the shipment. As against this the health certificate charges from Singapore are S $ is 15/-per health certificate ( i.e amount Rs. 450/-) for each shipment without taking into consideration species and numbers.    


The table given below explains the effect of Airfreight as per IATA “TACT” book on captive bred fish for exports, and unless we start exporting in quantity captive breed fish we cannot increase the exports.

(Table to be made)
Breeders Price      Growers Price      Export Price      Landed Price      Landed Price
                                                                              at Consuming from

Countries re-exporting
(Exporters to consumer
Rs.100/- Rs.300/- Rs. 400/- Price + A.F Countries
+ other Rs. 600/-
Per 100
Rs. 800.

This is one reason, the demand for exotic bred fish from India is getting reduced and thus the volume. Hence it is mainly restricted to wild caught Indian fish. Unless the volume increases the airlines are not interested it giving better freight rates and as it is the Indian National Carries AIR INDIA has apathy for carrying of Live fish  Livestock in general.    

The trade has been pointing out that captive breeding of exotic and some Indian fish is a necessity for growth of export from 1982 Seminar.

It is also interesting to note that there are 3 MOFP schemes operating through MPEDA and 23 schemes for industries.

Under Market Promotion Scheme No.22 Airfreight support schemes is not applicable to Ornamental fish. Traders have been requesting to consider airfreight rate from 1982.

Uninterrupted electric supply and good water also form basic needs of ornamental fish.  

I have presented on the trade of Ornamental fish some papers as follows:

1) Present Status of the Trade and Future Export Prospects- 1982
2) Packing and Transport of Live Tropical Aquarium Fish- 1982
3) Live Tropical Aquarium Fish Exports. Some Problems With Solution & Suggestion- 15/01/1987 workshop.
4) Infrastructure and Related Aspects Of the Ornamental Fish exports- 1997.
5) Report on 2nd World Conference on Ornamental Fish Aqua Culture- “ Model Technology for Future” at Aquarium 2001 in Singapore
6) Export Potential of some Ornamental fish Species from Western Ghats (2002).
7) Constraint of Farming & Export of ornamental fishes- (2002)
8) Domestic and Exports Avenues In Ornamental Aquarium Fish for Self  Employment (Volume  2,No.4&5- 2004-05)
9) The Export Growth of Ornamental fish- Constraints (2005)
10) Ornamental fish Trade / Industry The Road Ahead  January 2006
11) Ornamental Fish Hobby And Trade- Some Aspects- March 2006
12) CIFE-  May 2006
13) Presentation On Fisheries College Dean's Meet- 2006
14) Ornamental Fish Introductions in India:- Status, Challenges # Potentials- September 2006.   

If we implement all the above points, I am sure that within 5 years our Export will reach from Rs. 5 crores to Rs. 50 crores, apart from proving to the world, especially to Singaporeans that India is not a “SLEEPING GIANT”.    

Thursday, 23 November 2017

By S. R. Sane, the Chairman, of SANJEEVAN Association is an qualified Zoologiest and experience of over 50 years of Keeping & Breading in fishes, reptiles & amphibians.