ICAR-CIFRI has intervened in the sun-rising and booming sector of dry fish production at Fresergunj, Bakhkali and adjacent areas of Sundarbans, West Bengal where life and livelihood of a huge fishers community is at stake, who are solely dependent on production systems of dry fish, which is a four & half months involvement from October to mid February, every year. In this part of Sundarbans, there are i) 8 large scale enterpreneuers of dry fish producers at ‘Khalisthan’, ii) 30 small scale group of entrepreneurs at Fresergunj, iii) 30 small scale group of entrepreneurs at Baliara and iv) 7 medium to large scale group of entrepreneurs at sea shore area of Baliara site, actively involved in dry fish production a) primarily for human consumption and b) production of a bulk amount of fish meal being traded across Eastern and North-Eastern states of India. Though a vibrant sector, depending on coastal fisheries for harvesting the fishes primarily Harpodon nehereus, Setipinna taty, S. tenuifilis, S. phasa, Racunda rucila, Scianids, Coilia dussumieri, C. ramcarati, C. reynaldi, Cynoglossus lingua, C. arel, C. cynyglosus, Trichiurus lepturacanthus, T. pantuli, Escualosa thoracata, Sardinella spp., Stolephorus baganensis, S. indicus; scampi viz., Paeneus indicus, Parapaeneopsis sculpilis, Metapaeneus bravicornis, Acetes erythraeus, A. indicus, including crabs utilizing ‘Bag Net’ as well as ‘Binti Jal’ for a period of 12 consecutive days and refitting after lifting & drying for 6 days for a overall period of 135 days in a year. Dr. B. K. Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore has shown keen interest to develop the very vulnerable but vibrant sector towards ensuring improved livelihood of the fishers surviving therein. He imbibed the Scientists being engaged for delineating the prime issues of this sector - both developmental and researchable. The issues include: i) Overpowering of ‘hilsa fishers’ to the dry fishers for occupancy of zonal sector for harvesting fish ii) lack of good market facilities depriving the dry fishers for a good earning, iii) lack of proper trading facilities towards earning foreign revenues, iv) lack of proper sanitation of the drying field, v) lack of proper financial support by Financial Institutions vi) knowledge gap towards scientific drying of fishes – a researchable issue and vii) training needs for knowledge strengthening and capacity building, someone to be mention-worthy.
Director, ICAR-CIFRI has been instrumental in providing all sorts of technical support for uplifting the present socio-economical status of the fishers engaged in dry fish production system in this area of West Bengal, the designated state of ‘Nutri-Smart’ one. ICAR-CIFRI would be providing constant technical guidance and support in this endeavour for sustainable development of dry fish production system- a ‘Blue-Line Sector’ towards earning foreign revenues for the country as well, targeting towards achieving second Blue Revolution by 2022 .