What is Channa Barca?

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What is Channa Barca? Blog Image


Assam Forest Department officials recently intercepted a smuggling attempt involving over 500 'Channa Barca' fish valued at Rs 4.5 crore at Dibrugarh airport.

About Channa Barca

  • Channa Barca, also known as the Barca Snakehead, is a primitive predatory fish and member of the family Channidae.
  • “Pipli Cheng” or “Cheng Garaka” is the local name for Channa Barca.
  • Distribution:
    • It is endemic to the upper Brahmaputra river basin in northeastern India and Bangladesh.
    • In India, it is restricted to the states of Assam and Nagaland in northeastern India but is scarce and never collected in numbers.
  • Habitat:
    • It inhabits vertical burrows around the margins of wetlands, which typically become dry during the winter months.
    • The fish use them as refuges during the dry winter months, emerging to hunt and breed while the habitat is flooded.
  • Since it is a rare, ornamental fish, it is in high demand in the international market and is susceptible to illegal trade. 
  • Features:
    • Channa have an elongated body and are distinguished by their long dorsal fins and large mouths full of teeth.
    • It often has changing patterns and colors as it grows. 
    • The maximum size of the fish is 80-90 cm.
    • They earn their common name Snakehead because of their flattened shape and the scales on their heads that are reminiscent of the large epidermal scales on snakes.
    • Channa has gills to breathe water like most other fish. However, sub adults and adults can also breathe air to supplement their demand for oxygen. 
  • Conservation Status: Overall, it has been assessed as data deficient by the IUCN, and in 2014, it was assessed by the IUCN as critically endangered due to habitat loss.

Q1) What is IUCN?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organizations. By harnessing the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organizations and the input of some 15,000 experts, IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it

Source: Exotic fishes worth Rs 4.5 crore seized in Assam's biggest ever exotic fish seizure