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Fish Farming in Karnataka: How to Start, Subsidy, License, and Business Plan

Fish farming is also called ‘pisciculture.’ It is practiced in rearing commercial fish in enclosed tanks. It is an important sector that contributes heavily to India’s agricultural exports and food security. As the demand for fish as food grows, so has the world’s population due to overfishing. The Fisheries Department distributes high-quality fish seeds to farmers in the district to assist in fishing activities. Today, about half of the fish used worldwide are raised in these artificial environments. Let’s check out more information about fish farming in Karnataka.

Fish Farming in Karnataka
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The commercial fish farming business is considered an economically profitable business. The fish farming business ensures an immediate return on your investment. The rate of consumption of fish is increasing every year. Fisheries have gained importance in the state and national economy through nutritious food, foreign exchange, and employment. Karnataka has vast potential for fish production. It has 5.65 lakh hectares of freshwater sources; 2.93 lakh hectares are ponds, tanks, and 2.72 lakh hectares are reservoirs.

In addition, the state has 8,000 hectares of brackish water resources and 320 km of coastline with a continental shelf area of ​​27,000 square kilometers. As a result, Karnataka has recorded the highest increase in fish production in the country’s coastal states. As a result, Karnataka is known for the wealthiest fish diversity in the country, with about 240 species of fish found in Karnataka. 

Pond construction for fish farming 

The construction of a pond at a chosen site involves several steps: site clearing, construction of a bank or dyke, digging the pond, construction of inlets and outlets, covering the dyke, and fencing the pond. 

Site clearing – Tree stumps, bushes, and other debris should be cleared. Make sure trees and other vegetation within 10 meters of the pond area must be removed. It is essential to clean the soil to a depth of about 30 cm as it may contain roots and other organic debris that interfere with the growth of the pond.

Digging and construction of dyke – An ideal dyke should consist of 30-35% clay, 15-30% silt, and 45-55% sand. After digging the dyke, the ridge should be proportional to the slope. Then, a mixture of sand and clay should be added in the ratio of 1: 2 to form a layer about 15 cm thick to raise the dyke. It is done in the center of the pond.

Excavation is usually done in the plains, while the embankment method is followed in mountainous areas. Dykes are placed on the sides as required. However, the embankment method cannot be followed for fish culture as it is difficult to obtain standard depth and size as described. 

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Fish Farming
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Construction of Inlet and Outlet – Ponds should be filled with plenty of water for which feeder canals have been constructed. Inlets and outlets allow water to flow. Inlets are made at the top of the pond, while outlets are at the bottom of the pool. These inlet pipes should be designed so that it does not take more than two days to fill them. Outlets are used when it is necessary to draw water from a pond for fishing. It is also used to replace the stale water with fresh water to maintain water quality. 

Fish species in Karnataka

In Karnataka, the most common fish species found in the lakes are Rohu, Mrigal, Tilapia, and Catla. Another fish species is the African Catfish, an invasive species of Africa and the Middle East that has endangered many indigenous species. 

Rohu is a common freshwater fish belonging to the carp family. It is a native of India and is found throughout South Asia. The average harvestable size of Rohu is 1-1.5 kg and is obtained in 12 to 18 months. It is a very popular carp because it is eaten a lot. 

Mrigal is another important native carp species found in India. Like Rohu, Mrigal is largely aqua farmed. Mrigal can weigh up to 2 kg and grow up to 60 cm in two years. It lives mostly underwater. 

Tilapia is well suited to a wide range of conditions and is known for breeding. It is an important aquaculture species because of the high demand for this species.

Catla is another important species of carp in the Indian peninsula. It is found mainly in rivers and lakes in northern India. 

Carnatic carp is the state fish of Karnataka. It is a species of cyprinid fish from the Western Ghats in India, where it lives in fast-flowing rivers and streams with rifles and large ponds. 

The newly discovered species are the Pethia striata, which belongs to the Cyprinidae family, including the delicious common carp (an edible fish), the aquarium goldfish, and the zebrafish. 

Mahseer is an edible fish of the genus Barbus, and the carp family is from Cyprinidae. Mahseers live in both rivers and lakes; some species are thought to have climbed into fast-flowing rocky rivers for breeding. Freshwater fish are found in large numbers in freshwater rivers and lakes in India and Southeast Asia. 

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Fish Pond
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Some other fish species are Anchovy / Silverfish, Golden anchovy, Bata, Catfish, Catfish Pabda, Carnatic carp (State fish of Karnataka), Croaker / Jewfish, Catla, Cobia, Black Kingfish, Clams, Blue Crab, Finned Bulleye, Flying fish, Fraser Danio, Flathead, Grass carp, Bloch Grunter, Milk Fish, Parrot fish, Rohu, Tilapia.

Cage fish farming in Karnataka

Cages are used in lakes, ponds, and oceans containing fish in the cage system. The fish are kept in cages-like structures and are “artificially fed” and harvested. Cage fish farming methods have made many technological advances, especially in reducing diseases and environmental concerns. However, the first concern of the cage system is the escape of the fish and the loosening of the wild fish population. 

Learn the skills needed for fish farming

It is essential to have some skills in the fish farming business. Some government-run farms run training programs. You can participate in different types of programs to learn skills. Also, know skills from working in a successful fish farm business. It will teach you to manage water quality, control disease, feed, and other processes. Below are some things necessary for starting a fish farming;

  • Make sure you have a consistent quality water source. 
  • Check if the water temperature is suitable for raising fish. 
  • Check the water both bacteriologically and chemically. 
  • Understand the technical systems of risk management. 
  • Find reliable suppliers for fingerlings, fish eggs, and fish food. 
  • Learn about the legal requirements and permissions required to start a fish farming business in your area. 

Fisheries department in Karnataka

The state of Karnataka has a 320 km long coastline with 27,000 square feet kilometer continental shelf area, 5.65 million hectares of various inland water resources, and vast scope for fisheries development.

Functions for the fisheries department 

  • Planning, promoting, coordinating, executing, and monitor of various development/welfare programs 
  • To maximize the use of all resources for inland aquaculture to achieve sustainable fish production from the marine sector
  • Improving economic condition 
  • Creating the necessary infrastructure facilities for harvesting, landing, and marketing 
  • Production and supply of standard fish seed for aquaculture 
  • Providing technical assistance to farmers 
  • Training fishers and staff in technology upgradation 

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Fishes in Pond
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Feeding the fish 

When raising fish in ponds, feeding is done to ensure that the fish can gain maximum weight as per market standards in a minimum time. However, care should be taken during feeding and rearing to maintain water pH between 7 and 8 for maximum growth. The feed must provide the nutrients required for growth and reproduction and the essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fats. It is easy to keep natural food like zooplankton, phytoplankton, insect larvae, etc.

The natural habitat required for fish growth is maintained to some extent. Phytoplankton breeding can be promoted by incorporating various organic farming wastes into the pond, such as poultry farming, poultry drops, organic manure, etc. In addition, extra food is given in a moist or dry form. For fish that eat from the upper layers, floating pellets may be given, while those feeding below may be given sinking pellets. 

Fisheries of Karnataka

Fisheries have gained importance both as a foreign exchange earner and an employment generator. In addition, the sector has acquired an industrial enterprise characteristic. Fish is the cheapest protein source available for human consumption. The Fisheries Department promotes fish production in the maritime and inland sector by utilizing abundant resources.

Karnataka has about 5.76 lakh hectares of inland water resources, 8000 hectares of brackish water, 2.38 lakh hectares of water and alkaline area, and 313.02 km of coastline with 27,000 sq km of the continental shelf. The department is implementing various schemes for better utilization of resources and the welfare of fishers and the public. The average fish production in the last five years is about 5.95 million tonnes, of which the marine sector accounts for 66% and inland 34%.

Fish farming supplies 

The aquaculture industry needs fish farming equipment. Supplies can range from feed and feeders, filtration systems, lighting, hydroponics equipment, plumbing, hatchery supplies, heating and cooling systems, predator control, tanks, and water treatment products to just a few names. In fish farming, feed quality is essential for the fish’s health. Depending on the feed provided, it can contribute to the desired color and overall health and well-being. Different varieties of feeds are suitable for different aqua farming methods and species. 

In fish farming, water filtration systems are essential to minimize environmental impact. It involves removing waste products from the water. There are many different types of filtering systems that can be used, but it often depends on the state of the filtration process. In addition, there must be a staging filtration system that ensures maximum optimal results. Hatchery supplies range from fish graders to spooning and shipping supplies for handling containers. 

In case you missed it: Top 50 Fish Farming Tips, Ideas, and Techniques

Fish Farm
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Apply for fishing license in Karnataka

Procedure – Applicants may apply for a fishing license or permit by owning their fishing equipment, such as fishing rods, nets, reels, fishing lines, hooks, vessels, etc., which should be registered with the State Directorate of Fisheries. Fishing equipment registration is a one-time activity. Therefore, applicants cannot apply for a fishing license without first registering their fishing gear. 

Apply in person: Applicants registering for a fishing license or permit must apply at the state Department of Fisheries Directorate for a fishing license. 

As per the instructions, the applicant fills out the application form and then submits it to the concerned authorities. The applicant must provide all the required documents to the authorities for verification and pay the required application fee. After verifying all the documents, the authorities will issue a license.

Fish farming schemes in Karnataka

  • Construction of Fish Markets under State Government Assistance / RKVY / NABARD in Indi, Kundapur, Siraguppa, Sindhanur, Yadgiri, Belgaum, and Haleangady. 
  • Establish a 2MT Chiller in hygienic fish markets under Mathsya Jopasana Scheme with the assistance of Rs. 100 lakhs from the State Government. 
  • Provision of 8 No. (2 Ton and 4 Ton) Mobile Chiller Units under 2021 RKVY Scheme 
  • Construction of Floating Jetty at Mangalore and Malpe Fishing Harbor 

Fisheries subsidies in Karnataka

The small-scale and the mechanized sectors in Karnataka have an almost equal number of subsidies (both state and central government subsidies). Currently, 11 fishing subsidies (excluding culture fisheries) are available to small-scale marine fishers. Some of these subsidies are directly related to fishing activities’ purchase of fishing necessities (such as nets and floats).

In case you missed it: Fish Farming In Tanks – Suitable Fish Breeds, And Tilapia

Fish Farming
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In contrast, others are more common in nature (such as the Matsyashraya [housing] scheme), group Accident Insurance Scheme, Fisheries Scheme [supply of fish transport vehicle], distress relief funds, etc. The subsidies have achieved their primary goal of providing social protection to small-scale fishers and examining how the fishers perceived them. The “success” of state interventions can be measured in several quantitative ways. 

In these ways and a preliminary review of fisheries subsidy in Karnataka was done by, 

  1. The degree or nature of the information that small scale fishers have on each subsidy, 
  2. The extent to which small scale fishers in Karnataka have benefited from these subsidies, and 
  3. The efforts to disseminate information on fishing subsidies targeting small-scale fishers. 


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