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Summary

Sri Lanka is blessed with a large number of irrigation reservoirs. Depending on their hydrological regimes they are broadly categorized into perennial and seasonal reservoirs, and are secondarily used for inland fisheries. The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Sri Lanka initiated a programme to introduce culture-based fisheries in minor perennial reservoirs (< 250 ha) whereby 15 minor perennial reservoirs situated in eight administrative districts were selected for introduction of culture-based fisheries in its initial year of implementation. These reservoirs were stocked with fish fingerlings of catla Catla catla, rohu Labeo rohita, common carp Cyprinus carpio, Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus and post-larvae of freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Stocking commenced in 2004; stocking data from 2004, 2005 and 2006 are considered in this study. Stocking densities varied from 217 to 870 ha−1 year−1, with an average density of 425 ha−1 year−1. Fish catch statistics for 2005, 2006 and 2007 were considered; high variability in fish yield among reservoirs as well as in some reservoirs between the years were observed. Mean annual fish yield from all 15 reservoirs increased from 57.3 to 208.1 kg ha−1 year−1 after the introduction of culture-based fisheries. Overall fish production in all 15 reservoirs increased by 263%, ranging from 42.8 to 1344%. Overall contributions of Nile tilapia, catla, rohu, common carp and freshwater prawn to fish harvest were 47.4, 27.2, 16.9, 4.3 and 0.7%, respectively. Biomass gain per fingerling stocked with respect to catla, rohu, common carp and freshwater prawn are 0.51, 0.42, 0.26 and 0.04 kg, respectively, indicating attractive monetary gains through stocking of these species. Results indicate the viability of culture-based fisheries in minor perennial reservoirs. Possible reasons for high variability in fish yield and areas for follow-up studies are discussed.