India is home to an impressive array of freshwater fish species, boasting a staggering 2,500 known varieties inhabiting its rivers, lakes, and ponds. These aquatic creatures are of immense ecological and economic importance, with many being highly valued as a source of food or recreation. Among the most prominent species are the rohu, catla, hilsa, snakehead, mahseer, Indian carp, and gourami, each possessing their unique traits, colorations, and habitats. Nonetheless, the habitats of these species are under constant threat from environmental degradation, pollution, and overfishing, which highlights the dire need for effective conservation measures. The freshwater fish diversity of India is a vital resource that must be protected, managed, and preserved for the benefit of both the natural environment and human societies.

Catla fish, also known as Catla Catla, is a species of freshwater fish commonly found in rivers and lakes across South Asia, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It is a large, fast-growing species that can reach up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh over 40 kg. Catla is an important food fish, known for its white, tender flesh and is a popular ingredient in many traditional South Asian dishes. The fish is known for its unique features, including a large head, upturned mouth, and deeply forked tail. However, due to overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution, the population of Catla has declined in recent years, making conservation efforts crucial for its survival. Various organizations and governments are working towards ensuring the long-term survival of this species through sustainable fishing practices, habitat restoration, and protection.

Serial No.CharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameCatla
2Scientific nameCatla catla
3ColourSilver-grey with a hint of light green on the back
4Average length in m0.6 – 1.2 meters
5Average weight in kgs1 – 2 kilograms
6Found in river systems of IndiaMajor river systems including Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mahanadi
7HabitatLarge freshwater bodies, including lakes and reservoirs
8Any special characteristicsCan grow up to 1 meter in length in just two years, making it a popular fish for aquaculture


 Catla is a medium-to-large-sized fish, with a slender and elongated body that is laterally compressed. It has a large and broad head, and a slightly concave forehead. Its mouth is wide and terminal, and its upper jaw protrudes beyond the lower jaw. It has two pairs of nostrils and a pair of barbels on its upper jaw. The dorsal fin is long and has 17-19 rays, while the anal fin is short and has 7-8 rays. The caudal fin is deeply forked. Catla has large scales, with 30-32 scales along the lateral line and 7-8 rows of scales above it.

The back of Catla is dark grey to greenish-brown, while the sides and belly are silvery. It has a golden-yellowish sheen on its scales, which becomes more prominent in mature individuals. The fins are greyish-yellow, with a dusky margin.

Catla can grow up to a maximum length of about 1.8 meters (6 feet) and a weight of about 45 kilograms (100 pounds). However, most individuals caught for consumption are smaller, typically weighing between 2-5 kilograms (4.4-11 pounds).

Catla is a fast-swimming fish and can swim at speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) when it needs to escape predators or catch prey. However, its swimming speed may vary depending on factors such as water temperature, oxygen levels, and the presence of obstacles.


Catla prefers clear and fast-flowing water with sandy or rocky substrates. It can also tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and pH levels, although it prefers slightly alkaline to neutral water. Catla is an omnivorous fish that feeds on plankton, insects, crustaceans, and small fishes.

Catla is a migratory fish that moves upstream during the monsoon season to spawn in the upper reaches of rivers. During the dry season, it moves downstream to deeper waters where it can find more favorable conditions such as cooler temperatures and higher oxygen levels.

Catla is a popular fish in India and is widely cultivated in aquaculture systems due to its high demand and fast growth rate.

River System

Catla is commonly found in the Ganges River and its tributaries, such as the Yamuna, Ramganga, and Gomti. It is also found in the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries, such as the Subansiri, Kameng, and Manas. Catla is found in the Mahanadi River and its tributaries, such as the Tel and Ib rivers. It also scores the length of the Godavari River and its tributaries, such as the Manjira, Pranhita, and Penganga.

Catla is found in the Krishna River and its tributaries, such as the Tungabhadra, Koyna, and Bhima. It is also found in the Cauvery River and its tributaries, such as the Shimsha, Hemavati, and Arkavati.

Threatened Status

Catla is currently not considered a threatened species according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, overfishing and habitat degradation have led to declines in Catla populations in some areas. In addition, pollution and the construction of dams and other water development projects can also have negative impacts on Catla and other freshwater species.

image_pdfDownload As PDF

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *