ICAR-CIFRI provides livelihood support to wetland fishers of Borkona beel, Assam under WorldFish project: A post-Covid initiative.
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 (CIFRI Pen HDPE® 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 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 65 active members belonging to scheduled caste community and a total of 350 fisher families depend on the beel for livelihood support. Borkona beel is an unstocked beel with low fish production (average fish yield rate: 180 kg ha-1 yr-1). ICAR-CIFRI initiated supplementary stocking with fingerlings of major and minor carps (40,000 nos.) in the beel for the first time on 28th December, 2020. The main objective of the program is to enhance fish stocks in the beel, improve fish yield rate and to provide livelihood support to beel fishers post-Covid.
An awareness program was also organised on the occasion. The supplementary fish seed stocking program was conducted under the overall guidance of Dr. J. K. Jena, DDG (Fisheries Science), ICAR, Dr. B. K. Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore and Dr. B. K. Bhattacharjya, Head, ICAR-CIFRI Regional Centre, Guwahati. It was conducted by Mr. Simanku Borah, Scientist of the Centre and Co-PI of the project. Mr. Borah explained the objective of the work programme and various aspects of fish stock enhancement to local beel fishers. He also explained in detail the role of small-scale fisheries towards ensuring livelihood security of beel fishers. The whole program was conducted with active involvement of the fisher community of Borkona beel. Mr. Bhagaban Haloi, Member, Bampara Fishery Co-operative Society expressed his gratitude to Director, ICAR-CIFRI and ICAR-CIFRI Regional Centre, Guwahati for the initiative.