Review of the bioenvironmental methods for malaria control with special reference to the use of larvivorous fishes and composite fish culture in central Gujarat, India
Mosquito control with the use of insecticides is faced with the challenges of insecticide resistance in disease vectors, community refusal, their high cost, operational difficulties, and environmental concern. In view of this, integrated vector control strategies with the use of larvivorous fishes such as Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) and Gambusia (G. affinis) as biological control agents were used in controlling mosquito breeding in different types of breeding places such as intradomestic containers, various types of wells, rice-fields, pools, ponds and elsewhere in malaria prone rural areas of central Gujarat. Attempts were also made to demonstrate composite fish culture in unused abandoned village ponds by culturing Guppy along with the food fishes such as Rohu (Labeo rohita), Catla (Catla catla) and Mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala). Income generated from these ponds through sale of fishes was utilized for mosquito control and village development. The technology was later adopted by the villagers themselves and food fish culture was practised in 23 ponds which generated an income of ` 1,02,50,992 between 1985 and 2008. The number of villages increased from 13 to 23 in 2008 and there was also gradual increase of income from ` 3,66,245 in 1985–90 to ` 55,06,127 in 2002–08 block. It is concluded that larvivorous fishes can be useful tool in controlling mosquito breeding in certain situations and their use along with composite fish culture may also generate income to make the programme self-sustainable.