The chronic toxic effects of a prolonged exposure of 6 months, from January to June, to a 'safe dose' (0.20 mg litre(-1)) of a commercial organomercurial fungicide, Emisan (methoxy ethyl mercuric chloride: MeEHgCl), on the histophysiology of liver in adults and young (yearlings) of Channa punctatus, are described in this investigation. In both of the experimental groups, liver histology exhibited various abnormalities, including hyperplasia, nuclear pyknosis, fatty necrosis, and degeneration of hepatocytes leading to tumour and syncytium formation, which are indicative of carcinogenesis. Apart from this, blood vessel congestion and oedema were also observed in young treated fish. In the livers of both exposed groups, corresponding with this cellular damage, a marked reduction in hepatosomatic index, levels of total protein and lipid, and an elevation in cholesterol and acid and alkaline phosphatase contents were recorded. However, these alterations were more pronounced in young than in adult fish. These Emisan-induced, histopathological and biochemical changes are suggestive of severe hepatic dysfunction, which may result in the impairment of the physio-metabolic process, in this species.