Fishing in west bengal
West Bengal has a vast water resource potentiality. By utilising these water resources there is a great prospect of pisciculture. These resources can be divided into two categories :
1.Inland Water Resources and
- Marine Water Resources
Inland resources constitute ponds, rivers, marshy lands, canals, reservoirs etc.
Development of Pond Fishery
Although there are vast water resources in West Bengal the main problem is how to utilise these water resources. More than half o f the total water area remains unused. In order to utilise the vast water resources for augmenting fish production in a scientific manner, Fish Farmers Development Agencies (FFDA) have been set up in 18 Fishery districts in the State. Besides giving technical guidance to the fish farmers for scientific pisciculture, these agencies also help them to get Government subsidy and institutional finance for their fishery activities. So far 106420.49 Ha. water area in the state is brought under scientific pisciculture through the FFDA assisted programmes. In the hill areas o f Darjeeling the FFDA has taken up pisciculture by impounding running water from hilly streams (Jhoras).
Brackishwater Fish Culture
The state of West Bengal has the largest impounded Brackish water area in the country. To utilise this vast water area three Brackishwater Fish Farmers Development Agencies (BFDA) have been set up in the coastal districts of Midnapore, N-24 Parganas and S-24 Parganas. The main objective of this scheme is to provide a package of technical, financial and extension support to shrimp farmers. The farmers have adopted improved traditional culture according to the guidelines of Acquaculture Authority of India to maintain the eco-system of the coastal area. Macro brachium (Galda) culture is a new idea to the fish farmers o f this state.
Development of Bee Fisheries
The total area under Reels (i.e. ox-bow lakes) in West Bengal is 41,781.65 Ha. i.e. 7.06% o f the total inland water resources. At first these beels were connected with rivers but latter most o f the beels lost their connections from the mother river svstem. 29 To utilize these water resources these beels have been brought under carp culture mainly to increase fish production. The commercially important species o f fish seeds (i.e. carps) are used into these beels. The productivity o f these beels is the highest in the country. The Primary Fishermen’s Co-operative Societies (PFCS) help the fishermen community giving them financial and technical supports.
Marine Fisheries in West Bengal
West Bengal has a coast lime of 158 km in the Bay of Bengal. Though the coast line is very small but it is enriched with high quality nutrient fishes which has high export value. The main productive areas are the creeks and canals of the Sundarbans in the Bay o f Bengal. In the early days, the fishermen caught marine fish by traditional crafts and boats and hence their productivities were very low. But with the passage o f time, the demand for marine fish has gradually increased. To meet this demand improved fishing techniques (i.e. the mechanization of the fishing vessels and modernization o f the fishing gears) are being used by the sea going fishermen.
To catch fish in the sea area of Bay of Bengal is too much risky for the fish farmers during the stormy period which is very uncertain phenomenon. To protect the fish farmers the use o f Satellite information service received from the National Remote Sensing Agency,Hyderabad is very effective for the development of marine fish production. Moreover, the information in daily special weather reports broadcasting by All India Radio and Doordarsan, Calcutta and the daily newspapers are also helpful media for the sea-going fishermen. The programmes o f supply of wireless walky-talky for use in the fishing boat and installation o f wireless communication center at Digha and Fraserganj have been taken up and the work is in progress.
There are two minor fishing harbours in West Bengal : one at Shankarpur near Digha and the other at Fraserganj in the Sundarbans. The model harbour Shankarpur has all kinds of infrastructural facilities and also this place is famous as an ecotourism center. The Shankarpur Fishing Harbour with its total area of 66.56 acre is under the administrative control o f the West Bengal Fisheries Corporation Ltd. Now, more than 500 mechanised boats per day are operating at Shankarpur and has a berthing facility for 150 vessels. Fraserganj fishing harbour in S. 24-Parganas has a berthing facility for 200 vessels and also for 500 mechanised boats. Moreover, there are 53 Fish Landing Centres distributed in the coastal areas o f the districts of S-24 Parganas, N-24 Parganas and East Midnapore. The West Bengal Marine Fishing Regulation Act’93 and the Marine Fishing Regulation Rules’95 are being enforced in the interest o f poor fishermen and to utilize the marine resources.
The Fisheries Department of the Government o f W.B. is also engaged in different welfare programmes for the fishermen under inland, marine and brackish water sectors. Group Personal Insurance Scheme as a measure of providing economic security to fishermen and their families against loss of life or permanent disablement benefit was started in 1984-85. Financial assistance of Rs. 35,000 in case o f death and Rs. 17,500 in case o f disablement is extended against annual premium of R s.l2 only, which is borne by the Government. Up to the end of the year 2000, the total number of fishermen under insurance coverage is 1,52,380, the total number of cases referred for benefits is 572 families and the total number of benefits already given is 539 families while the total amount disbursed is Rs. 12567000. The Savings-cum-Relief Scheme was introduced in 1998-99 and 5,000 marine fishermen were benefited. Under this scheme the marine fisherman has to deposit Rs. 45 per month for a period of 8 months fishing period and to get back Rs. 270 per month during the 4 months lean period.
Neel Kranti Mission(CSS)
- National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
- Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post Harvest operations.
- Strengthening of Database & GIS in Fisheries.
- Institutional arrangement for Fisheries Sector Monitoring Control and surveillance (MCS).
- National Scheme of welfare of Fishermen.