The hobby of ornamental fish keeping in metro India WILL outgrow many of the developed countries by next decade

Atul Kumar Jain* & T.V. Anna Mercy

Ornamental Fisheries Training and Research Institute,

Udaipur-313001, Rajasthan, India

India with a share of 0.3% to global ornamental fish export is listed last amongst all the S-E Asian countries that are major exporters of ornamental fish in the world. It is stagnating at this level for many years with very little possibility to improve as mainly wild varieties of ornamental fishes of India are in demand in international market. The natural stocks of most of these varieties have drastically declined and the technologies of their mass propagation are yet not commercially established. The Sahyadria  denisonii a famous fish of Western Ghats of India that mainly contributed to ornamental fish export from India is now listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. It may sound disappointing to a countryman that country is not contributing significantly to international ornamental fish trade but it is worth noting  that the hobby of aquarium keeping in country has grown many folds during last two decades. It is estimated that presently 1.25% of 78,865,937 urban house-holds in the country are keeping an aquarium. The percentage of hobbyist is highest in Chennai where 7.95% of a total of 1,154,982 house-holds are keeping an aquarium whereas the hobbyist of Bangalore are served by 600 aquarium retailers which is highest in a city (Table-1). The hobby of aquarium keeping is growing in country for several reasons including increasing per capita income, increasing number of middle income group population and also the increasing number of nuclear families specifically in metro India. The faith of an average Indian on the concepts of Vastu, Fengshui and other religious factors are also contributing to it. It is viewed that the hobby will grow much faster now as developmental institutes have introduced many innovative schemes. It includes funding support to set up ornamental fish breeding unit, setting up of public aquarium gallery, installation of aquarium in schools and colleges and development of skilled manpower in the field of “Ornamental Fisheries”. The ongoing effort of local administration and tourists departments in few Indian states to develop public aquarium gallery will also boost the hobby of ornamental fish keeping and in turn the domestic trade of ornamental fisheries.

Table 1 Number of Aquarium shops and hobbyists in metro cities of India
Name of City Total Urban PopulationNo. of  Urban House-holdsNo. of aquarium shopsNo. of house-holds keeping Aquarium
Mumbai12,478,4472,779,943500 (10.12%)100,000 (3.60%)
Delhi11,007,4473,435,999254 (05.14%)50,800 (1.48%)
Bangalore8,425,9702,393,845600 (12.15%)120,000 (5.05%)
Hyderabad6,809,970881,512302 (06.11%)60,400 (6.85%)
Chennai6,560,2421,154,982459 (09.29%)91,800 (7.95%)
Kolkatta4,486,6791,024,928375 (07.59%)75,000 (7.32%)
All India377,105,76078,865,9374939 (100%)987,800 (1.25%)
English | Hindi