Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

Excise officers from the Assam Forest Department have captured around 500 ‘Channa Barca fish‘ from Dibrugarh, valued at Rs 4.5 crore. Information from a forest department representative was provided. These fish were smuggled out of Kolkata, officials said. Divisional Forest Officer B.V. Sandeep stated that following up on a tip, officials from the Forest Department apprehended numerous endangered fish, referred to as “Cheng Garka,” and detained the driver of the car that transported them to the airport.

On December 21, 2023, the Assam Forest Department made headlines when they successfully stopped a large-scale smuggling operation at Dibrugarh Airport. They also seized 500 Channa Barca fish, which are estimated to be worth Rs 4.5 crore (about $550,000 USD). This extraordinary operation resulted in one of the largest seizures of exotic fish in recent memory in addition to foiling a massive attempt at trafficking.

Channa Barca Fish: A Rare and Endangered Species

Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

The Upper Brahmaputra River valley in northeastern India and Bangladesh is home to the uncommon and endangered Channa Barca, also called the Giant Snakehead Murrel. Highly valued for its distinct look and culinary merit, especially in Southeast Asian nations, the species is seriously threatened by habitat destruction, overfishing, and illicit trading. Smugglers find it to be a lucrative target because a single live Channa Barca fish can command prices in the Indian market ranging from Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000.

Smuggling Attempt Foiled

Vigilant forest officials received a tip, which led to the seizure of the fish, which were on their way to Kolkata aboard an Indigo flight. The shipment, which belonged to Sridhan and Jiten Sarkar, was bought for Rs 400 per kilogram from rural Tinsukia district districts. The two planned to make large sums of money by smuggling the fish into Southeast Asian nations.

Legal Consequences and Ongoing Investigations

Under the Wildlife Protection Act of India, Sridhan Sarkar and Jiten Sarkar, who are currently detained, are accused of crimes. In an attempt to capture further participants in the smuggling network, the Assam Forest Department is actively looking into it. This operation protects the people of Channa Barca and sends a strong message to would-be smugglers that their actions will not be allowed.

Conservation Impact and Ecological Restoration

Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

The confiscated fish will be covertly placed in plastic bags inside of luggage and transported back to the Brahmaputra River, where they were first found. The objective of this initiative is to support conservation efforts and aid in the restoration of the fragile ecosystem. The Assam Forest Department’s dedication to stopping the illegal wildlife trade and protecting the area’s abundant biodiversity is demonstrated by the interception’s success.

Why is Channa Barca so expensive?

Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

Channa Barca fish can fetch eye-watering rates, as evidenced by the recent Assamese seizure of Rs 5 crore, for a number of reasons.

1. Protected species

The fish known as “Channa Barca” is classified as protected and is found on “Schedule II” of the Wildlife Protection Act.

2. Mouth is like a snake

This unusual species of snake-like fish is only found in Bangladesh and northeastern India in the upper Brahmaputra River basin.

3. There is a ban on catching

Since Channa Barca fish are in danger of going extinct, it is illegal to catch, raise, or sell them.

4. Cheng Garaka is also called

Barca snakehead fish is another name for Channa Barca. Cheng Garaka or Garaka Cheng are other names for it.

5. Iit is very expensive

The Channa Barca fish is regarded as one of the priciest fish globally.

6. Worth lakhs of rupees

The cost of Channa Barca fish is expressed in lakhs on both the domestic and global markets.

7. Sold for up to Rs 1 lakh

A black fish can cost anywhere from Rs 50 to Rs 1 lakh in India.

Channa Barca Price

Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

A Channa Barca fish’s cost can vary significantly based on a number of variables, such as:

  • Size: Generally speaking, larger fish cost more than smaller ones. A 20-inch fish could bring several hundred dollars, although a 6-inch Channa Barca might only cost about $50.
  • Coloration and Rarity: Some color morphs that are extremely rare, like the “fire and ice” variation, can fetch prices that reach thousands of dollars.
  • Location: Where you purchase the fish can also affect the price. It’s possible that fish from respectable breeders will cost more than fish from unreliable suppliers.
  • Legality: It’s crucial to remember that Channa Barca are protected species in their native country and that trading them is forbidden in many others. There might be severe fines or perhaps jail time for purchasing or selling these fish.
SizePrice Range
6-inch$50 – $100
10-inch$100 – $200
15-inch$200 – $500
20-inch & above$500 and up

Channa Barca Breeding

Because Channa Barca fish are sensitive and endangered, breeding them is a difficult and demanding task. It’s not advised for novice aquarists, and considerable skill and a regulated environment are frequently needed for successful reproduction.

This explains why it’s difficult to breed Channa Barca

Channa Barca 2

• Endangered Species: As previously noted, Channa Barca face severe threats to their survival in the wild. Instead of putting personal benefit ahead of conservation and population restoration, breeding attempts should be made.

• Knowledge of Breeding: Although there have been documented instances of successful breeding, nothing is known about their particular breeding needs. Uncertainties exist about elements including spawning triggers, water factors, and parental care.

• Specialized Setup: A big, densely populated aquarium with particular water parameters (such as softer water and cooler temperatures) is often necessary for the successful reproduction of Channa Barca. Such an environment requires technological know-how, time, and resources to create and maintain.

• Predatory nature: Channa Barca are fierce predators, and if appropriate safety measures are not followed, the male can even hurt the female during mating attempts.

• Potential Failure: Success is not guaranteed, even with meticulous preparation and a strong work ethic. Breeding attempts may fail due to incompatibilities between partners or unforeseen problems.

Why Buying Or Selling Channa Barca Raises Concerns

  • Critically Endangered: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated the Channa Barca as Critically Endangered because of habitat degradation, overfishing, and illicit trading. Purchasing them may exacerbate the population decline.
  • Illegal Trade: Channa Barca is illegally traded in a number of nations, including areas of the United States and their native Bangladesh and India. Buying them might land you in jail or with heavy fines.
  • Unsustainable Practices: Channa Barca’s already delicate environment is further strained when they are captured in the wild for the aquarium trade. This throws off the natural equilibrium and makes conservation more difficult.

Channa Barca Max Size

Channa Barca fish worth Rs 5 crore seized in Assam, know the specialty of this fish

The Channa barca, sometimes referred to as the Giant Snakehead Murrel, is a very large fish. They can grow to genuinely enormous sizes and are the largest species in the Channa genus. This is a summary of their maximum size:

Total Length of Channa barca

The commonly acknowledged maximum length for Channa barca, as described in scientific literature and observed in wild specimens, is up to 105 cm (3.4 ft).

unusually huge people: There have been reports of Channa barca being larger than 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length, and historical documents and anecdotal evidence support these larger estimates. Nevertheless, these assertions are usually regarded as unconfirmed because they lack hard data.

Health Benefits of Channa Barka

Although the giant snakehead murrel, or Channa Barca, is valued for its food and cultural significance in some areas, there is no scientific evidence to support claims that it is healthy, and it may even be detrimental.

Limited Scientific Evidence

  • ·        Claims from traditional medicine: In several Southeast Asian nations, traditional medicine links the eating of Channa barca to a number of health advantages, including the ability to heal wounds and increase immunity. To support these assertions, however, there aren’t enough reliable scientific investigations or controlled trials.
  • Anecdotal reports: Rumors regarding Channa Barca’s purported health advantages are frequently based on personal experiences. These, however, are not as rigorous as scientific methods and are subject to the influence of personal prejudices or placebo effects.


The Assam Forest Department deserves praise for foiling the rare Channa Barca fish attempt at smuggling. In addition to protecting an endangered species, this action brings attention to the ongoing difficulties that wildlife conservation agencies face. The region’s dedication to stopping the illegal wildlife trade makes it clear that protecting biodiversity is of utmost importance.


Q: Why is Channa Barca so expensive?

A: Channa Barca’s rarity, aggressive nature, and large size contribute to its high price.

Q: What is the local name of Channa Barca?

A: Depending on location, Channa Barca may be called Barca Snakehead, Indian Snakehead, or Peacock Snakehead.

Q: How big do Channa Barca get?

A: Channa Barca can reach up to 30 inches (75 cm) in length, making them quite large aquarium fish.

Q: How do I identify Channa Barca?

A: Look for a broad head, elongated body, iridescent scales with blue and green hues, and prominent red markings on the fins.

Q: Which is the highest costly fish?

A: The Platinum Arowana holds the title of most expensive fish, with some specimens fetching millions.

Q: Is Channa a freshwater fish?

A: Yes, all Channa species are strictly freshwater fish.

Q: What is the smallest Channa fish?

A: Channa gachua, also known as the Dwarf Snakehead, is the smallest species, reaching only around 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

Q: Can Channa live with other fish?

A: Channa are generally not recommended for community tanks due to their predatory nature. They may attack and eat smaller fish.

Q: What is the rarest snakehead in the world?

A: The Channa stewartii, or Manipur Snakehead, is critically endangered and highly sought after by collectors, making it one of the rarest snakehead species.

Q: What is the minimum tank size for a Channa Barca?

A: For a single subadult, a 180cm/6′ tank is the minimum, with much larger tanks required for adults and pairs.

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