Holy Mackerel!

The Indian publishing industry can sometimes seem like many separate streams that largely move in their own channels. And yet, the stated purpose is the same, so it is like many rivers that move to an ocean, with little merging, very little mixing.

Even within academic publishing, there are many streams. The multinationals, OUP, CUP, and their tributaries, the many UPs that are partnered by a few independent publishers. And the parallel stream, of local publishers who offer a platform for authors without the ancillary benefits, like visibility, editorial support, or editorial intervention.

A case in point is a new book from Daya Publishers, Fishes Around Indian Ocean by K P Biswas. Even without having seen the book, one can realize that (a) the topic is important, at least for us, (b) the author, with a plethora of degrees, both Indian and foreign and a lifetime of experience) brings considerable expertise to the subject, and (c) that some copy editing would have greatly improved the readability and value of the book. Why not Fishes of the Indian Ocean as a better title? The blurb reads no better, but like we said, there is value in the book. Here is an edited excerpt:


The Indian Ocean harbours about 4000 fish species. Except for identifying the characteristics and the taxonomic status of the species, it is practically impossible to describe the biology of each of these since studies have not been made for all, and reliable information is not available for many species of poor economic value.

In a dynamic ocean with so many regional micro-climatic and hydrological variations, many commercially important fish species fluctuate in their seasonal inshore migration. This results in huge shoals forming a good fishery in some years, while there is a failure in other years due to the disappearance of shoals.

Besides describing and identifying the characteristics of the major groups of fish, details of pelagic commercially important oceanic tuna, the biological characteristics of some economically significant species of each of major fish groups, with special reference to the seas around the Indian subcontinent are discussed in the book. The occurrence and capture of species that constitute commercial fishery from seventeen fishing grounds along the Indian coasts have been outlined, and significant details in respect of more than four hundred fish species of economic importance are given.

In our Natural History section, in hardcover, 540 pages, Rs 1600. ISBN: 9788170356202

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