The district is not richly endowed with fluvial waters. The fishing activities in the district are naturally restricted to inland waters only, rivers, tanks and ponds being the chief sources. The Pravara river with its tributary Mula, joins the Godavari, running along the northeast border of the district. The Kukadi and the Ghod, as tributaries of the Bhima, run along the south-western border. Other tributaries, the Kan and the Merwari of the Sina run along the south-east border of the district.
The fishermen in the district take advantage of the riverine fisheries mainly in the Ghod river at Chinchani and in the Pravara at Toka in Newasa taluka for only six months in a year.
There are 13 irrigation tanks with a total area of about 2,580 hectares. Out of this area, Bhandardara with 1,012 hectares, Musalwadi with 202 hectares and Visapur with 522 hectares are perennial and suitable for the development of fisheries. A tank admeasuring 816 hectares, under the control of Ahmadnagar municipality for water-supply to the town, is also undertaken for fish culture. The tanks under the control of Zilla Parishad and Gram-panchayats are, however, short seasonal. The total area thus brought under fish culture in the district is 2,552 hectares.
Fish-catch from riverine resources comprises mainly cat-fishes and local minor fishes. The important varieties of fishes occurring naturally in the water resources of the district are Kolshi, Panghat, Dandwat, Alkut, Tambir, Rohu, Mrigal, Catla, Ambali, Shivda, Muri, Murrel and Wambat.
Considering the potential of water resources, particularly the irrigation reservoirs from the view-point of developing fisheries in the district, the department of fisheries has established an office in the district under the charge of an Assistant Superintendent of Fisheries, Ahmadnagar, who is responsible to the Superintendent of Fisheries stationed at Pune. The Superintendent of Fisheries works directly under the Director of Fisheries, Maharashtra State, Bombay. He is assisted in his work by an Assistant Superintendent with other ministerial staff.
Duties: The duties of the Superintendent of Fisheries are as under:-
(i) Granting lease of fishing rights of portions of rivers, tanks and ponds in the district.
(ii) Conducting survey of new sheets of water to assess their suitability for pisciculture.
(iii) Stocking of tanks and reservoirs with suitable varieties of fishes.
(iv) Collection of local fry and its nurture in nursery tanks.
(v) Supervision of the tanks.
(vi) Formation and supervision of the fisheries co-operative societies and devising ways and means to improve the socio-economic conditions of fishermen.
(vii) Investigating the applications from fishermen for loan for fishery works and subsidies on fishing twine.
(viii) Watching and effecting loan recoveries and credit the money to the treasury.
(ix) Encouraging the fishermen to take advantage of the guidance afforded by the department.
(x) Collecting statistics of fish and other data pertaining to fisheries and fishermen of the district.
(xi) Supervising the work of development of fisheries in the districts of Pune, Ahmadnagar and Sholapur.
(xii) Allotting refrigerated cabinets to local bodies or co-operative societies.
In the socio-economic field, although the fishermen are scattered, efforts are made to organise them into fishermen's co-operative societies. There are at present three co-operative societies of the fishermen in the district. The fishermen have come forward to take the advantage of many developmental schemes introduced by the department which helps the societies of fishermen in getting tanks on lease for the purpose of pisciculture, besides giving financial assistance by way of loan and subsidy on essential commodities required for gear, craft and other accessories. Financial assistance is also granted for construction of rearing and nursery tanks for de-silting and renovating tanks and for screening of the outlets. All these steps are taken eventually towards increasing the production of fish in the district. There are 1,107 fishermen in the district, out of whom 455 are full-time workers and 652 are part-time workers. Most of these fishermen are Pardeshi Bhois and Kahars. Some of them cultivate water-melons or prepare Chana-phutana and murmura as a subsidiary means for their livelihood.
The varieties of fish found in the district do not, however, belong to the fast-growing type. As such, under Five-Year Plan schemes, quick-growing "Bengal-carps" are stocked annually in the perennial water tanks for propagation of pisciculture. The varieties stocked are catla-catla, Rohu and Mrigal. During the Second Five-Year Plan
period about 14,000 carp fry was stocked, whereas during the first two years of the Third Plan only, the quantity stocked amounted to 20,000.