Post Amphan support to the affected fishers of Beledanga wetland, West Bengal for livelihood enhancement under SCSP.
ICAR-CIFRI has undertaken Beledanga wetland, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal for production enhancement and livelihood improvement of fishers under the leadership of Dr. B. K. Das, Director ICAR-CIFRI as a part of the Schedule Caste Sub Plan (SCSP). The fisheries management of the wetland was undertaken by the fishermen body Beledanga Barrackpur Fishermens’ Cooperative Society Ltd. which was registered in the year 1958. The Cooperative Society is having a strength of 176 members out of which 170 are belonging to Schedule caste (SC) and the remaining are schedule tribe (ST). The beel is of canal like horseshoe shaped wetland having an area of 60 ha. ICAR-CIFRI provided technical support and distributed fish seed, fish feed and other fisheries implements. The fishers were given hands on training for 5 days on inland fisheries management to draw their interest in proper management of wetland and were exposed to pen culture and governance aspect.
Large size fish seed (advanced fingerlings) is the main input for culture based fisheries in wetland which require a huge financial involvement. ICAR-CIFRI demonstrated pen culture for insitu seed raising in Beledanga wetland in a co-management mode to reduce the cost of large size fish seed. Around 36300 IMC fingerlings (approximately 10 g) were stocked in the month of February, 2020 in the four CIFRI HDPE pen installed in Beledanga wetland. After 8 weeks of rearing, the fish has grown to the size of 30 g. The harvested 25,830 advanced fingerlings from the pen were released in the wetland as a stocking input for culture based fisheries. The harvested fish seed from the pen showcased the low cost production of in-situ advanced fingerlings.
During the lockdown phase of COVID 19 the fishermen faced several problems. A comparative study was done where the production data duration lockdown period of 5 months (February-June) for the last four consecutive years were analyzed. The production was 21260.05kg, 21217.75kg, 12970.8kg and 13530.45kg in the year 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively. Because of social distancing and other COVID preventive norm, the catch data reduced during the lockdown phase. In the month of March and April the catch was negligible which was around 64.9 kg only as compared to last year of 1524.90 kg but at the mid June the production status of 7091.95kg already crossed the last year’s production record of 3964.35 kg reflecting ICAR-CIFRI intervention on fish production. An estimation of 2423.52 kg protein diet was supplemented by this Beel during the lockdown.
During the Amphan cyclone on 20th May, 2020 the pen structure were destroyed and over flooded. Now the pens need to be repaired and new seeds to be stocked in the pen to start pen culture once again. As a part of post Amphan support, ICAR-CIFRI distributed 4.2 tons of fish feed for seed raising in pen and fishing boat to Beledanga Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Ltd. on 25th June 2020 which will help in livelihood improvement of the fishers under SCSP programme. the feed and boat was provided in the presence of Dr. B. K. Das, Drector of the institute and other senior officials of ICAR-CIFRI. The programme was monitored by Ms. Sangeeta (T-3), Ms. Ambily (T-3) and Mr. Kausik (T-3) under the supervision of Dr. Lianthuamluaia and Dr. P. K. Parida, Scientists of ICAR–CIFRI.