Farming in the mid hills is largely characterised by small land holdings, low productivity, scarcity of agricultural land and irrigation facilities, and uneven terrain. Low returns in farming and unemployment problems in the mid-hills are compelling youth to move to the cities to find livelihoods. Adoption of integrated farming practices utilising available land, water and waste products more efficiently can improve farm productivity and income. The achievements of a young farmer from a remote village working to motivate others are documented in this article.

The Asian seabass Lates calcarifer is a highly preferred foodfish in West Bengal, with a high meat content and commercial value compared to Indian major carps. Found in estuarine systems on the north-east and south-east coasts of the Bay of Bengal, Asian seabass is a hardy, euryhaline fish and suitable for culture in coastal marine, inland saline, brackishwater and freshwater ecosystems. During the past decade, Asian seabass has received greater attention and has been increasingly farmed commercially in modified-extensive systems in large freshwater impoundments (termed ‘mithen gheri’ in local dialect).

This report summarises the proceedings of the 17th meeting of the Advisory Group, held 13-14 November 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. The group's role includes reviewing disease trends and emerging threats in the region, identifying developments in global aquatic disease issues and standards, evaluating the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Reporting Programme and providing guidance on regional strategies to improve aquatic animal health management.

In this issue:

Collection of tubifex worms from the Adi Ganga canal, West Bengal as means of livelihood; Some facts for the grow-out culture of an endangered catfish, Clarias magur; The cryptic domain of gut microbiota in composite culture of Indian major carps; Integrated rice-fish farming in hilly terraces of the Apatani Plateau, Arunachal Pradesh.

Although relatively slow growing, market demand for Clarias magur is sufficient to make it economically attractive for aquaculture. Supply of this species is through a combination of wild caught and cultured fish. However, a drastic reduction in wild populations has led to C. magur being listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Only limited quantities of cultured fish are available. The article communicates the aquaculture practices of C. magur including hatchery, nursery and grow out.

The digestive tract of all vertebrates including fish is known to harbour a complex microbial ecosystem with a large, diverse and dynamic collection of microorganisms. These microbes become an integral component of the host animal with intimate host-microbe associations. In the following study, we employed both bacterial enumeration and culture independent DNA fingerprinting approach to examine the presence of host-specific gut microbiota in Indian major carps related to their occupancy of distinct ecological niches.

Rice-fish farming is a popular activity amongst the Apatani tribe of the Ziro valley, conducted in their wet rice terraces. The strains of fish cultured include mirror carp Cyprinus carpio specularis, scale carp C. carpio communis and leather carp C. carpio nudus, cultivated synchronously with local rice cultivars (Oryza sativa), viz. eamo, ampu, mipya, pyapu, pyaping and eylang. This article describes the integrated farming practices and socio-economic circumstances of the Apatani in the Yachuli, Hapoli, Hong, Hari, Hija, Bula, Dutta and Old Ziro villages.

The 79th edition of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease report contains information from eleven governments. The foreword discusses the outcomes of the 17th Meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health, held in Bangkok, 13-14 November 2018.

In this issue:

Current status of freshwater cage aquaculture in India; Fattening of mud crab Scylla serrata in estuarine region of south-eastern West Bengal; Aquaponics - sustainable farming method in the fight against hunger; aquatic invasive apple snails (Pomacea spp.) in Timore-Leste - current status, spread and management in rice fields; NACA Newsletter.

Initial attempts to develop freshwater cage aquaculture in India focussed on air breathing catfish and Indian major carps in the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, with later efforts in several large reservoirs. Cage-based aquaculture in inland waters is currently being promoted by some state governments with a view to enhancing fish production. This article examines the history of cage aquaculture in India and some of the factors to be considered in cage design and site selection.