Background: Oxbow lakes are abundant in indigenous fishes, but they are subject to unsustainable fishing practices, potential overexploitation, and indiscriminate use of fine-meshed fishing gear. To quantify the catch per unit effort (CPUE) and impact of fishing gears on fish abundance, a survey was
carried out in an oxbow lake in eastern India.
Methods: The gear-wise CPUE for fish caught in per unit hour of operation was calculated by dividing the total sampling gear catch in biomass, which is the observed value of fish caught by a particular gear, by the total sampling effort hours. A value of P < 0.05 was accepted as statistical significance. Results: Average annual values of the CPUE of triangular push nets, gill nets, long lines, seine nets, drag nets, stationary dip nets, cone-framed cast nets, and line and hook were calculated as 328.34, 4.12, 36.71, 572.92, 3928.57, 237.78, 235.80, and 0.44 grams of fish per hour of operation, respectively. All the 8 different gears exhibited lower CPUE during monsoon and post-monsoon seasons than in the premonsoon season. The line and hook was dominant (>71%). Cone-framed cast net hauled the maximum catch in biomass (31.51%), and gill nets contributed the maximum number of fish (64.92%). The lower CPUE values of line and hook, gill net, cone-framed cast net and long lines identified them as the most harmful among all gears.
Conclusion: Indiscriminate use of gear, particularly line and hook, gill nets, cone-framed cast nets, and long lines, demands regulations and preventions concerning such gear to obtain higher fish abundance.