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Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Improved fisheries productivity in reservoirs (PN34)

Project title: Improved fisheries productivity and management in tropical reservoirs (PN34)


An ever-growing number of small, medium and large reservoirs are being built in the world for irrigation or hydro-power purposes. While some fishing activities take place on these water-bodies, the productivity of their fisheries is in many cases far below the identified biological potential. Yet, fisheries and their associated activities (fish processing and fish trading) have been recognized to play a critical role in terms of food security and economic development.

The project objective was action research for enhancement of reservoir fisheries and improved knowledge of social processes that influence reservoir productivity to increase the productivity of the water bodies and providing sustainable livelihood options to the rural poor.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Results show that manipulations of reservoir ecosystems to improve productivity and outcomes for lower income communities are feasible, but to realize these, adaptive research needs to work closely with users to ensure that the rationale for the intervention and the technical details are fully appreciated by local stakeholders and, more importantly, that research and extension come to understand the real opportunities and constraints confronted by potential investors.
  • A series of ‘capacities strengthening’ and ‘community consensus’ workshops was held and post harvest interventions for improved fish processing and trading were implemented with the stakeholders.
  • In Ghana, small-scale cage culture technology tested in Lake Volta is now being adopted and adapted by some 20 cage operations in the lower Volta River Basin.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • The outcomes and impacts of the project are somewhat mixed. Some immediate positive outcomes were observed in the two small reservoirs in India (in the form of a direct increase in the productivity of the reservoirs and in economic returns to individual fishers and fish traders). At a higher level, the provincial state officials were convinced about the feasibility and application of the project outputs and selected another 51 reservoirs to implement an enhancement model similar to the one tested by the project.
  • In Egypt, although a certain number of khors’ ‘owners’ have expressed the wish to adopt the enclosure model tested by the project, the current experiment has yet to demonstrate increased productivity and benefits to the local fishers (or to the consumers). More methodological and technological efforts are required.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN34 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Journal papers

  1. Abd Ellah R.G. 2008. Physical Limnology of two enclosures in Lake Nasser, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research 34(4): 247-259
  2. Bene C., Bandi B. and Durville F. 2008, Liberalization reform, ‘neo-centralism’ and black market: insight into the political economy of Lake Nasser fishery development. Water Alternative 1(2): 219-235.
  3. Bene C. and Obirih-Opareh N., Social and economic impacts of agricultural productivity intensification: the case of brush park fisheries in Lake Volta. Agricultural Systems (in press).
  4. Finegold C., BeÅLneÅL C. Shehata M., Habib, O.A. 2009. Productivity, capital mobilization and moral hazard in fishery: investigating their links through share contract theory in Lake Nasser (submitted)
  5. El Haweet A., El Hussein A., Sangq Y., and Elfar A. 2008. Assessment of Lake Nasser Fisheries. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research 34(2): 285-298
  6. Ofori J.K., Abban E.K., Karikari A.Y. Brummett R.E. Production economics of small-scale tilapia cage aquaculture in the Volta Lake, Ghana. Journal of Applied Aquaculture (in press)

Research papers

  1. Katiha, P.K., Vass, K.K., Sarkar, S. Saxena, A. 2009. Improving fish productivity and equity in common property waters: a study of Indian reservoirs under different fishing regimes, Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, India.
  2. Katiha, P. K., Bene, C. and Vass, K. K. 2009. Impact of socio-institutional factors on water productivity: Examples from the Indo-Gangetic Basin, Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, India.
  3. Dankwa, H. R., Agyakwah, S., Agbogah, K., Abban, E. K. and Kolding, J. 2009 Review of catch trends and changes in fish species composition of the Volta Lake during its 45 years of existence. Water Research Institute, Achimota, Ghana
Final Report
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.