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Keywords:

  • catla;
  • common carp;
  • food web;
  • mola;
  • polyculture;
  • punti;
  • rohu

Abstract

This experiment was carried out in the framework of a project to develop a viable fish polyculture technology under Bangladeshi conditions that allows simultaneous fish production of small indigenous species for the farmers' family consumption and of large carp species as a cash crop. The objectives of this experiment were to assess the effects of adding punti and mola in different proportions on the large carp and on the environment, and to assess the effects of punti on mola and mola on punti. The polyculture included the large carp rohu, catla and common carp (as cash crop fish), and the small indigenous fish punti and mola (as food for the small-scale farmer family). The total large carp stocking density was 10 000 fish ha−1, at a species ratio of 1:1:1. The total small fish stocking densities were 0 in the control and 30 000 punti and mola ha−1 in the treatments, these at rates 2:1, 1:1 and 1:2. Stocking punti and mola at the density and all ratios tested were viable solutions to obtain simultaneously large carp cash crops and small fish to feed the farmer's family. Statistically marginal differences in large carp production were obtained in stocking small fish in the different proportions. These marginal differences could be explained by food competition between punti and common carp and between mola and rohu, which had different outcomes depending on the proportions of the small fish stocked. Stocking punti and mola at a 1:1 ratio would result in more small fish for the farmer's family, while the individual size of rohu, the most expensive large carp, would be somewhat smaller, but not necessarily small enough to decrease its selling price. Stocking one of the small fish in higher proportion than the other (2:1 or 1:2) would result in less mola for the family consumption, while harvesting of common carp would be somewhat lower and of smaller fish. Since common carp is the cheapest of the large carps, this small reduction would not necessarily affect the family income in an important way. With these results, farmers would now be able to reorganize their stocking practices with large carps and small fish and decide the appropriate small fish stocking ratios to meet their needs.