Why is Catfish Banned in India?

Have you ever wondered?

  • Why is Catfish Banned in India?
  • Is it legal to catfish in India?

In short: Catfish is not banned in India, but the import of African catfish species is banned to protect native fish diversity. 

Why is Catfish Banned in India?

All catfish are not banned in India, only certain types of catfish are banned due to disease concerns.

Some restrictions and regulations around importing and farming certain catfish species:

  • In 2009, India banned the import of African catfish species over concerns that they could be invasive to native Indian fish species. So importing these African catfish is illegal.
  • Farming non-native catfish species such as shark catfish and Magur in India comes with regulations. Farmers must obtain licenses and approval to commercially cultivate these species. 
  • In India, it is legal and common to farm and consume native catfish species like Boal, Giant river catfish, and Gunga. These local catfish varieties pose no invasive threats.

Is it Legal to Catfish in India?

Yes, fishing for catfish is legal in India.

India is home to various native catfish species such as Boal, Giant river catfish, Gunga catfish, Bachwa, and more.

These catfish are caught and eaten in many regions across the country.

Fishing regulations vary across different states in India but generally:

  • You can catch catfish for your use at home using nets, traps, fishing lines, and rods. However, there are some rules about the equipment you can use and the minimum size of the catfish you catch.
  • To catch catfish for business, you need to get fishing licenses from the state. Also, you have to follow rules about the equipment you use and how many catfish you’re allowed to catch.
  • Catching endangered catfish species like the Mahanadi magur and Flapped-nose catfish (Sperata aor) is illegal or requires special permits.

Which Fish is Recently Banned in India?

Some fish recently banned in India are African Catfish, Red Sea Bream, Tilapia, Pangasius, and Silver Carp.

  • African Catfish: In 2009, India said no to bringing in African catfish because they worried it might harm the fish that already live in India.
  • Red Sea Bream: In 2020, a rule was made to stop farming Red Sea Bream along India’s coasts because it could be bad for the environment.
  • Tilapia: In 2022, one state in India stopped people from farming tilapia to protect the Krishna River and local fish. Other states are thinking about doing the same.
  • Pangasius: Some states in India don’t allow farming pangasius catfish or have strict rules because of the risk of disease and harm to the environment.
  • Silver Carp: India said no to importing silver carp in the 1970s, but some people still bring it in illegally. Now, there’s a push to enforce this rule more strictly.

Are You Interested in Catfish? If Yes, Read More: 

Sources: greentribunal.gov.in


Is catfish eaten in India?

Yes, catfish is eaten and enjoyed widely across parts of India. Native Indian catfish species like Boal, Magur, Singhi, Gunga, and Bachwa are commonly caught from rivers and farmed for food in many regions including West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, and the North East.

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