Annual flooding of the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers provides Assam with some of the finest floodplain wetlands in India. Local people have adapted their livelihoods to the flood cycle and fishing remains a traditional activity of tremendous importance in rural communities, with a diverse range of fishing gear and methods developed. This article documents some of the major fishing gears of Assam, with reference to their efficacy and targeted fish species.

Women's engagement in fisheries can be viewed from social, political and technical perspectives, all of which show that the role of women is often underestimated. In the fisheries sector participation by women may only become visible after the landing of the catch. The inadequate recognition of women's contributions hampers development, slowing progress in reduction of poverty and food insecurity. This article examines the diversity of women's involvement in fisheries and aquaculture and highlights opportunities to increase the participation of women.

Marine aquaculture of high value species such as fish is generally reliant on external food supplies and has a negative impact on water quality, generating high organic and nutrient loadings. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture offers a solution to reduce environmental impact of farming systems, culturing complimentary species that can recycle nutrients and reduce nutrient pollution while generating additional products for sale. This article looks at species selection and integration of trophic levels in system design.

The 77th edition of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report contains information from nine governments. The foreword discusses an intensive seven-day training course on tilapia lake virus (TiLV) that was jointly organised by China's National Fisheries Extension Center, Sun Yat-Sen University and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

In the ornamental fish markets of India, the euryhaline spotted scat Scatophagus argus and pearlspot Etroplus suratensis are popularly sold as ornamental fish. This article describes the nursing of wild-caught spotted scat seed and in-pond breeding of pearlspot to produce marketable sized fish at the Joykrishna hatchery and fish seed farm, located in the Hooghly River estuarine zone in coastal West Bengal, India. The fish are reared in brackishwater ponds for commercial utilisation as ornamental fish, supplying Hyderabad and other cities.

Makhana, Euryale ferox is a perennial aquatic herb with gigantic floating leaves that grows in still, shallow water. The sowing and harvesting of makhana seeds, a casual food for rural folk, is conducted by groups of migratory people belonging to the Mallah or Sahini community of Bihar. The makhana seeds are usually fallen and scattered over the bottom of the wetlands (beels) and must be collected manually by diving during September-November. The raw seeds sell for Rs. 60-70 per kg in Assam.

India’s share of the international ornamental fish trade is marginal but has been able to show consistent growth over the years. Of the total ornamental fishes traded by India, approximately 85% are native fishes sourced from the Western Ghats and North East India. The aquaculture of native fishes in seasonal water bodies can play a role in both conservation and generation of livelihoods. Imparting knowledge regarding ornamental fish trade and establishing market linkages is required to further develop the industry.

The use of sludge or ‘tubifex’ worm, Tubifex tubifex, as a live food for juvenile fish has been long practiced in farmers’ fields and it is an important fish food for spawn rearing. The cost of tubifex worm becomes prohibitive in the dry season, when supplies are limited. We conducted trials to test the feasibility of culturing tubifex using a selection of agro-industrial wastes. Net biomass production was highest using rice mill sludge as a food source, over a culture period of 20 days.

In this issue:

Rearing of spotted scat and pearlspot in coastal West Bengal, India; harvesting Eurayle ferox (makhana) from wetland fisheries of Assam; prospects of ornamental fish culture in seasonal water bodies in Assam; production of tubifex, a new dimention in aquaculture in feeding juvenile fish; invasive apple snails in Brunei Darussalam; aquaculture trends and opportunities in Sindh, Pakistan; NACA Newsletter.

The 76th edition of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report contains information from 14 governments. The foreword discusses the outcomes of a Stakeholder Consultation on Progressive Management Pathway to Improve Aquaculture Biosecurity, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Mississippi State University and the World Bank.