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India has vast and varied types of inland fisheries resources in the form of rivers, estuaries, reservoirs, floodplain wetlands, lakes, coastal lagoons and backwaters, which play important roles in fish production in the country, ensuring food and nutritional security, employment generation and livelihoods to millions of people. Recognizing the role of inland fisheries, Government of India established a Central Inland Fisheries Research Station at Calcutta on 17 March 1947, under the then Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later, in 1959, the Central Inland Fisheries Research Station was elevated to a full-fledged research institute, christened as "Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute".
In 1967 it came under the administration of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture (currently Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare), New Delhi. The Institute strives for knowledge-based management of inland open waters for sustainable fisheries, conservation of aquatic biodiversity, integrity of ecological services and to derive social benefits from these waters. Headquarters of the Institute is located at Barrackpore, West Bengal; the Regional Research Centers are located at Allahabad, Guwahati, Bangalore and Vadodara, with Research Centers at Kochi and Kolkata. The Institute is ISO 9001: 2008 certified and provide world-class service standards.