Director's message

Dr. Kuldeep K Lal

India is among a few countries having institutionalized and systematic scientific research system on aquatic genetic resource management through ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR)under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

ICAR-NBFGR has been a focal point to address research pertaining to documenting the aquatic genetic resources and the diversity therein, mainstreaming the genetic diversity and capacity building of stakeholders and peer researchers, and scientific inputs for policy making and compliance to international obligations. With the mission of collecting, cataloguing and documentation of fish genetic resources using operational strategies of partnership and cutting-edge technologies, ICAR-NBFGR envisages to assess and conserve fish genetic resources for intellectual property protection and sustainable utilization. In addition to these, institute also works on evaluating indigenous and exotic germplasm for risk assessment and fish health. Multi-faceted research taken up by the proficient researchers of the institute, with the support of advanced technologies has helped ICAR-NBFGR scale greater heights since its inception in 1983. The output has enabled the institute to provide technical support to not only national organizations/ bodies like MPEDA and NFDB; but also, to International organizations like FAO and OIE. Over the years, the institute has emerged as a Centre of Excellence for research on fish genetic resource management and has made significant contributions in its mandated research areas.

The historical 2020 was a challenging year considering the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting all aspects of research & development initiatives including health, travel and economy. In this year of uncertainty, fear and crisis, new strategies were undertaken to ensure continuation of ongoing research activities with increased focus on safety of researchers. Sampling and exploratory surveys were undertaken following COVID-19 guidelines and quarantine rules. Exploratory surveys for documentation of fish diversity was undertaken for various river systems like the Godavari, Luni, Banas, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati and Saraiyamaun wetland. Survey for documentation of alien fish species was undertaken at Yamuna, Ganga and Tons rivers. Exploratory survey to collect live specimens of Tor putitora and Schizothorax richardsonii for thermal tolerance study, Hemibagrus punctatus and Clarias dussumieri for breeding purposes among many others was also carried out. Lockdown period was fully utilized by our researchers in dissemination of research findings through research manuscripts, popular articles etc. which resulted in a record submission of 123 research manuscripts. Farm activities and farmer services were continuously rendered to different partner hatcheries situated in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to supply cryopreserved milt for commercial seed production following COVID-19 guidelines. The efforts were fruitful as this initiative resulted in the production of 25 lakhs spawn. Information on economic losses due to fish diseases in Uttar Pradesh was collected through telephonic discussion with 126 farmers. Institute produced 1017 lakhs fish seed from its Lucknow based hatcheries during this disturbed year too. Seed of ornamental fishes, Dawkinsia rubrotinctus and Pethia setnai and fingerlings of Clarias dussumieri, Horabgrus brachysoma, Labeo dussumieri etc., were produced successfully and provided to needy entrepreneurs and farmers. The ICAR-NBFGR and DBT Germplasm Resource Centre for Marine Ornamental Invertebrates has been established in Agatti Island, Lakshadweep, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, which is a new approach in the country. Over fifteen species of ornamental shrimps collected from the wild are maintained in this facility for germplasm conservation and captive propagation. Retail sale facility of marine ornamental fishes has also been established in Thane district of Maharashtra.

On behalf of ICAR-NBFGR, I express my deep sense of gratitude to Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR, New Delhi for his esteemed guidance and support. I am grateful to Dr. J.K. Jena, DDG (Fisheries Science), ICAR for his dedicated efforts and guidance along with Dr. P. Pravin, ADG (Marine Fisheries) and Dr. B.P. Mohanty, ADG (Inland Fisheries). I also extend my thanks to Dr. Yasmin Basade & Dr. Prem Kumar, Principal Scientists and other staff at Fisheries Division of ICAR for their cooperation.

My sincere thanks to Dr. J. Balaji, Joint Secretary (Marine Fisheries) and Shri Sagar Mehra, Joint Secretary (Inland Fisheries) for their constant support to the institute. I also acknowledge to Dr. Rishi Tyagi, APCoAB Coordinator, APAARI for his repeated faith and confidence in some flagship activities of institute.

I express my heartfelt thanks to Chairman of Research Advisory Committee (RAC), Dr. A.G. Ponniah and all the esteemed members with gratitude for their valuable and consistent guidance in shaping the institute’s programmes.

I place on record my thanks to different organizations, Department of Biotechnology, Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra, Bioversity International and World Wide Fund for Nature, India for supporting some of the new initiatives taken by this institute. I also acknowledge NACA, Bangkok for their engagement with this institute in various programmes and consultations.