Friday, July 19, 2024


Inland Fisheries

Inland fisheries is mainly practiced in Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Sudan as well as other Arab countries. The inland fresh water made up of natural lakes; dams and reservoirs, rivers and their branches and marshes. The Iraqi inland fisheries are based in great part on Cyprinus spp., while its most important indigenous fishes belong to the genus Barbus.

Freshwater aquaculture of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus or O. spilurus)was introduced in Kuwait and lately in Jordan. Inland waters in almost all Arab countries are open access with no catch controls. Freshwater Aquaculture in Iraq is estimated to be 7 500 ha. The main species cultured is common carp and to a lesser extent grass and silver carp.

Cyprinus carpio common carp

Freshwater fishes (inland)

Cyprinus sharpey binni
Barbus xanthopterus kattan
Barbus grypus shabbout
Liza abu khishni
Silurus triostegus jirri
Barbus luteus himri
Asalus eorase shilik
Cyprinus carpio common carp

(Aquaculture fishes)

Cyprinus carpio common carp
Hypophthalmichthys molitrix silver carp
Ctenopharyngodon idellus grass carp

The wetlands of Arabia, specially in Sudan, Egypt, Syria,Arabian gulf states and Iraq in particular in Lower Mesopotamia support a major fishery. Several marine fish species of great economic importance are dependent on the estuarine systems and marshes for spawning, e.g. the pomphret Pampus argenteus and the saboor Hilsa hilsa,while the penaeid shrimp Metapenaeus affinis undertakes seasonal migrations between the Gulf and nursery grounds in the marshes.This shrimp is of significant economic importance to artisanal fishermen along the coasts of the northern Gulf, particularly Kuwait (Maltby, 1994).

The estimated annual catch of fish in the Mesopotamian marshes in the early 1960s was 30,000 tonnes, of which 70% were species of Cyprinidae. In 1990, FAO estimated that the total inland catch of fish in Iraq was 23,600 tonnes, with over 60% of this coming from the Mesopotamian marshes. The commonest fish in the catches, in order of importance, are "bunni" Barbus sharpeyi, "khatan" B. xanthopterus, "himri" B. luteus,"shaboot" B. grypus and the introduced common carp Cyprinus carpio. Commercial landings of the shrimp Metapenaeus affinis at the two main fish markets at Basrah during September-November 1985 averaged 1,000 kg/day.


Barbus xanthopterus kattan

List of Freshwater Fishes for Iraq (as an example)


Scientific Name FB Name Local Name Status

Acanthobrama lissnerimisidentification

Acanthobrama telavivensisnative

Acanthopagrus berdaPicnic seabreamnative

Alburnus caeruleusnative

Aphanius mentonative

Aphanius sophiaenative

Aristichthys nobilisBighead carpintroduced

Aspius voraxnative

Barbus esocinusMangarnative

Barbus grypusnative

Barbus longicepsmisidentification

Barbus luteusnative

Barbus sharpeyinative

Barbus xanthopterusnative

Barilius mesopotamicusnative

Caecocypris basimiendemic

Capoeta damascinanative

Capoeta truttanative

Carcharhinus leucasBull sharknative

Ctenopharyngodon idellusGrass carpintroduced

Cyprinion tenuiradiusnative

Cyprinus carpio carpioCommon carpintroduced

Gambusia affinisMosquitofishintroduced

Gambusia holbrookiEastern mosquitofishintroduced

Garra rufanative

Heteropneustes fossilisStinging catfishintroduced

Hypophthalmichthys molitrixSilver carpintroduced

Leuciscus lepidusnative

Mystus pelusiusnative

Nemacheilus insignismisidentification

Orthrias frenatusnative

Orthrias pantheranative

Orthrias tigrisnative

Sillago sihamaSilver sillagonative

Silurus triostegusnative

Strongylura strongyluraSpottail needlefishnative

Tenualosa ilishaHilsa shadSbournative

Typhlogarra widdowsoniIraq blind barbendemic


Hilsa shad(Sbour)