Asian Surveying & Mapping
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India Reservoir

The low reservoir productivity has largely been blamed on three factors namely intense fishing pressure, poor management and the failure of the riverine fish community to adapt to laccustrine environment. We practice two management strategies to improve productivity and to balance the drivers of low reservoir productivity namely introducing new species that are adapted to lake conditions and stocking. Unfortunately, these management strategies are not with reference to any spatial attribute.

In short, the priority task when planning for any resource management should be to locate their spatial implications or to map the resource. Use of Geographic information system in management of reservoir would enhance the productivity as it can help in the evolution of a new strategy.

GIS in India

The Indian contribution to the use of GIS in reservoir fisheries is currently restricted to mapping the reservoir, to assess change in the catchment area in various seasons, to project secondary data collected namely, fisher folk population, number of fisheries development agencies, number of fishing villages etc. Recently Nair et al (2013) carried out in Malampuzha reservoir of Palakkad district of Kerala state, a hydrographic survey involving collection of 3-D data of latitude, longitude and elevation of the bathymetric area of the reservoir using echo sounder and GPS and generation of TIN data model for 3-D visualization of the reservoir in GIS platform which is a good leap to use of GIS in fisheries in India. CIFRI is attempting to predict the productivity of a reservoir using chlorophyll data and secondary data.

GIS in Reservoir Outlook

Literature says, GIS answers four questions. In a reservoir perspective GIS answers these questions:

  • What are the spatial attributes of the location?
  • Given a set of criteria, which locations meet specific criteria?
  • What spatial pattern exists?
  • What if a particular event happens?

Future GIS Applications

GIS analyzes various complex spatial patterns simultaneously. But this advantage of GIS is least made used in fisheries in India. Some of the areas that can be very well represented and analysed using GIS are:

  • Preferred habitat location
  • Identification of Essential Fish Habitat
  • Estimating the effects of terrestrial land uses on aquatic fish habitat
  • Calculation of area of different habitats at various water levels
  • Assessment of biodiversity using GIS and studying the vulnerability of fish families
  • Sport fishing zone identification in relation to aquatic vegetation
  • Animal movements
  • Modification of habitats


Given information technology trends, there can be little doubt that future GIS tools will provide a range of functions embedded in various components that can be tailored for specific uses. There is a continuous need for workshops making way for the end- users and the domain experts to expand knowledge about GIS applications. There is always a need for relevant coursework in fisheries curricula at the university level which can make GIS a routine analytical tool in fisheries domain. Finally organization and individuals must facilitate the migration of GIS tools from academic realm to field where in all the stakeholders can collaborate to assess the relevant issue effectively.

The authors all work for the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, India and include Mrs. Thankam Theresa Paul, , scientist, reservoir division, CIFRI, e:mail:; Dr. Preeta Panickker, scientist, CIFRI, e-mail:; Dr. Sandhya K.M, scientist, FREM, CIFRI, e-mail:; Dr. Sajina, A.M., scientist, FREM, CIFRI, e-mail:; and Dr. Deepa. S, scientist, FREM, CIFRI, e-mail: