Director's message

Dr. Uttam K Sarkar

Dr U.K. Sarkar is a leading scientist having significant contribution in fish conservation biology, breeding of endangered species, aquatic habitat modeling, climate resilient inland fisheries, vulnerability assessment, cage culture technology, reservoir and wetland fisheries, etc. He has developed expertise in exploring, evaluating and characterizing the current spatio-temporal pattern of fish biodiversity of the Ganges basin, and biological and population characterization of prioritized food fishes which serve as baseline for conservation of fish germplasm in Indian sub-continent. Conceptualized and adopted the innovative approach of State fish for the first time in India. For the first time captive breeding (7 spp.), larval rearing protocols (7 spp.) and gene banking (5 spp.) of prioritized food fishes were developed which has been adopted by the stakeholders. Dr Sarkar was instrumental in conservation sites based on primary study in Ganga basin and promoted the concept of freshwater protected area in India. Systematically assessed the fish habitat in the Ganges basin through classical approach and by habitat fingerprinting and indicator taxa. Also, innovations were made for assessment and understanding of fish assemblages, spatial diversity patterns and habitat complexity of more than 30 Indian reservoirs and 50 wetlands covering different geoclimatic zones for developing region specific management practices using GIS and statistical tools. Dr Sarkar developed framework for assessment of ecosystem and species vulnerability in the context of climate change using new methods/indices/models. Developed and implemented climate smart adaptation strategies in three States. Refined, diversified and implemented the technologies of cage culture, pen culture and CBF in various states benefitting fishers. Developed guidelines for cage culture in India for management of reservoirs and floodplain wetland fisheries. Commercialized technologies viz. pen design (one time fee-Rs. 7 lakhs) and CIFRI cagegrow low cost feed (one time fee-Rs. 6 lakhs) and played key role in promoting cage culture in reservoirs.

Dr Sarkar has completed 23 projects which include 12 institutional (5 as PI) and 11 externally funded (9 as PI) projects with a budget of more than 15 crores in last 10 years. Successfully completed 6 inter-institutional collaborative and 6 interdisciplinary projects. Established advanced laboratory for biological characterization of fish in ICAR-NBFGR and upgraded NICRA laboratory of ICAR-CIFRI with high-end equipments for climate research and created infrastructure of more than 100 cages and pens in various reservoirs and wetlands. Also, coordinated a number of training and capacity building programmes for researchers, officials, fish farmers and students. Dr Sarkar has published more than 200 research papers, with above 3700 citations as per Google scholar. Besides, he has also published 6 books, 3 policy documents, 3 fish diversity Atlas, 5 databases and DNA barcoding of 72 freshwater fishes.