ICAR-CIFRI adopts Borkona beel under WorldFish project.
ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore has been implementing a project titled, “Small scale fisheries in wetlands for livelihood and nutritional security” headed by Dr. B.K. Das, Director, in collaboration with WorldFish, Penang, Malaysia. As part of the project activities, CIFRI technologies (pen culture and fish stock enhancement) are being demonstrated in selected floodplain wetlands (beels) of West Bengal and Assam with community participation. As part of the Assam component of the project, Borkona beel, a seasonally open floodplain wetland located near Sarthebari in Barpeta district, Assam was selected by ICAR-CIFRI for technology demonstration. The beel with a water spread area of 90 ha and water depth in the range of 2-4 m across seasons is connected to Mora Chaulkhowa River during the south-west monsoon season. The beel is managed by Bampara Fishery Co-operative Society having 39 active members belonging to scheduled caste community. Borkona beel is an unstocked beel with low fish production (average fish yield rate: 180 kg ha-1 yr-1). Ready-to-install CIFRI HDPE pens (8 nos. each of size 0.05 ha) were installed in the beel and were stocked with 30,000 fry of Labeo bata for enhancing fish production to 300-350 kg ha-1 yr-1. Fish seed stocking in pens was conducted under the overall guidance of Dr. B.K. Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore and Dr. B.K. Bhattacharjya, Head, ICAR-CIFRI Regional Centre, Guwahati. It was conducted by Mr. S. Borah, Scientist of the Centre and Co-PI of the project. Mr. Borah explained the objective of the work programme and various aspects of pen culture to the local beel fishers. He stated that pen culture is useful both for raising stocking materials for supplementary stocking and for producing table fish in beels. He also explained in detail the role of small-scale fisheries towards ensuring livelihood security of beel fishers. The whole pen culture activity will be carried out with active involvement of the fisher community of Borkona beel. Mr. Bhagaban Haloi, Member, Bampara Fishery Co-operative Society expressed his gratitude to ICAR-CIFRI for the work programme and assured full co-operation on behalf of all beel fishers towards making this initiative a success.