More than 70 % of India’s population live in rural areas, where the primary occupation is agriculture, but inland aquaculture accounts for significant contributions to their livelihoods. About 85 % of this aquaculture is contributed by carp polyculture. That being said, Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae, a huge, huge group of fish inhabitants to Asia and Europe. While carp is eaten in many parts of the world, they are usually regarded as an invasive species in parts of Australia, Africa, and most of the United States.
Over the last two decades, a roughly sevenfold rise in the output from freshwater aquaculture was obtained by the application of appropriate methodologies, financial investments, and the enthusiasm exhibited by private entrepreneurs.
In colloquial use, carp generally refers to only to some bigger cyprinid species such as Cyprinus carpio (common carp), Carassius carassius (Crucian carp), Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp), Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (bighead)carp), and Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (silver carp).
Carp have long been a significant food fish to humans. Some species such as the several goldfish breeds and the domesticated common carp variety referred to as koi have been amongst the highly popular ornamental fishes. As an outcome, carp have been introduced to different locations, though with mixed results.
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Common Carp Scientific Name
The scientific name of common carp fish is Cyprinus carpio.
Types of Carp Fish
The below table delineates the types of carp with some prominent carp in the family Cyprinidae and their significant information.
Varied Carp Species
In India, polyculture has traditionally been dependent on three native carp species possessing complementary feeding habits: the surface feeder catla (Catla catla); the bottom feeder mrigal (Cirrhinus Cirrhosus), and the column feeder rohu (Labeo Rohita). In 2005, these three species accounted for 26 % of the country’s complete fish production and 64 % of freshwater aquaculture production. Most peasants in India culture catla and rohu for their impeccable market prices and quick growth profile.
Three Exotic Species – common carp (Cyprinus carpio), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix); and the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella); – were introduced to the polyculture system in the late 1950s, but are less prominent and priced in the Indian market.
Carp Physical Description
With a yellow-coloured abdomen and the reddish-orange, lower wings are the display of carp fish. The two features that differentiate ordinary carp from the grass carp are the articular joints known as barbells close to the corners of the mouth and the long dorsal fin stretching out into the back half of their body.
Identify an Asian Carp
Small carps are commercially significant fisheries from the family Cyprinidae. The commercially crucial barbs are the Olive Barb (Systomus Sarana) and the Silver Barb (Barbonymus Gonionotus) and these also include the family Cyprinidae. Other than the Cave Carp, the small carp and barbs are generally distributed in India.
History of Carp Fishing
It is believed that the common carp fish was initially introduced into UK freshwaters in the 12th century. They were traditionally kept in stew ponds, ready to be consumed by monastic monks up until the 16th century. It was at this point in time that the most prominent fishing industry in the UK was materialized.
Carp are indigenous to Asia and Europe and are from the family Cyprinidae. They have been introduced, with mixed outcomes, to different other locations around the world.
Izaak Walton said, "The carp is the queen of rivers; a dignified, ceremonious and a very subtle fish; that was not initially first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalized.
Extensive Carp Culture In India
Modern carp polyculture in India started during the mid-1980s in the Kolleru Lake basin of Andhra Pradesh. The region sported 2- to 4-m-deep rearing ponds spanning 1-40 ha in areas that were built by digging swampy paddy fields. Carp culture had been introduced on an extensive level at that time, though current carp polyculture is based on modified and widespread farming techniques.
In West Bengal, polyculture is now mostly classic and widespread and majorly influenced by small and medium-sized farms. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh consists of the most specialized carp polyculture practices in India. Although the available region and productivity scale from polyculture systems are higher in Andhra Pradesh, official approximations exhibit higher production from West Bengal.
Aquafarming is most commonly a continuous process in Andhra Pradesh, where ponds are instantly restocked after a crop period of 8 to 12 months. Complete drying of the pond is done once every two years, subsequent to application of agriculture lime at 500 kg/ha.
In India, Carp polyculture ponds are enormously enriched using organic products like cow dung or poultry droppings. The former is usually mixed with an inorganic fertilizer such as single superphosphate (SSP). Sometimes urea and SSP are amalgamated with the manure and made to rest overnight before being applied to ponds. One half is applied at first and the remaining in equal monthly doses during the rest of the cycle. Additional monthly doses of inorganic fertilizers are also generally applied as required to maintain pond productivity.
Carp and Culture Combinations
Many native freshwater fish, including various minor and medium carps, enjoy better-trading markets and prices in India than major carp. The execution of these fish with major carp in polyculture must make the former one’s more economical than major carp polyculture alone, though the product concepts and characteristics of competition among these species are required to be more comprehensively understood.
As Indian aquafarmers experiment with new species, the polyculture of carp and (Pangasius Hypophthalmus) catfish is becoming quite prominent in low-salinity shrimp ponds cast aside after the White Spot Syndrome Virus eruptions in Andhra Pradesh. Catla and Rohu grow in salinities up to 8 ppt, while Pangasius grow wonderfully in 12 ppt and can bear up to 23 ppt. but, grow-out under higher salinities can present with a darker coloration to carp, which is not prudent in the market.
Pangasius-carp polyculture occupies about 20,000 ha in the West Godavari district, at a stocking density of 10,000 Pangasius and 1,250 catla or rohu per hectare. Overall production accounts for 10-15 mt/ha, with Pangasius weighing 1.5-3.0 kg and carps 1.5-2.0 kg. Polyculture of pacu established in India by the aquarium trade with carp, particularly rohu, is another cropping up aquaculture practice in Andhra Pradesh.
Carp Fish and Diseases
Carp polyculture in India is comparatively trouble-free, especially with respect to diseases. The “red disease” in carp, which can be a consequence of total mortality in some days if not treated, is the major disease documented. Some forms of parasitic infections are also often encountered in carp ponds during nursery and grow-out periods.
Carp fingerlings are at first fed groundnut/mustard oil cake for a period of up to one month, in addition to a mixture of deoiled rice bran and oil cake for the following month, and after that singular rice bran. Other feedstuffs for carps include cotton seeds, broken rice, pearl millet, maize, and soybeans.