Silent revolution on fish production during COVID-19 lockdown
By: Manab Jyoti Borah
NAGAON, May 22: The state fishery department has initiated a unique method of producing natural fish at a time when the entire government machinery is concentrating on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Kishak Kumar Das, a farmer of Rupahihat in Assam’s Nagaon district, showed the way by producing natural fish by using some “floating cages” which are set up in Rupahihat beel and several other sources of natural fish.
Kishak was able to produce around 2.500 kg to 3,000 kg of fish from such a “cage”.
The scheme has been approved by the fishery department under Chief Minister’s Samagra Unnayan Yojana (CMSUY).
A cage is made of plastic net like clothes. The length of a cage is 6 metre, wide 4 metre and height 2 metre.
The manufacturing cost of a cage is Rs 1,34,800. Of the amount, the fishery department bears Rs 94,360 (70%) while the fish farmer has to bear Rs 40,440 (30%).
The cost of fish feed is Rs 84,000.
“Such cages are put in fish sources at the beel and river, where fry fishes are pout and fed upto their growth to a certain level,” Nagaon district fishery officer (in-charge) Dr Ramendra Chandra Barman said.
“The department plans to construct 10 such floating cages at an estimated cost of Rs 21,93,200,” Dr Barman said.
Now the department is planning to extend this method to other natural resources of fish in Kaliabor, Borghuli and Hojai, he said
Nagaon district fishery development officer Abida Hussain Siddique, who also extended her helping hand to the fish farmers, said the natural fish production would go up “if every fish farmer adopts this method of fish production.”
In addition to this, the fisher department was also successful in home delivery of fish during the lockdown period.
“Six fish production units have been engaged for home delivery of fish in the district. They have distributed 1,400 quintals of fish during the lockdown period,” said another official.
Assam is predominantly a fish-eating state with 90 per cent of its population consuming fish. The increased fish production, however, is yet to meet the demand which is 3.36 lakh tonnes a year. To meet the gap, the state depends on leading fish producing states such as Andhra Pradesh.
Assam produced 190 tonnes of fish in 2007-08 which increased to 200 tonnes in 2008-09, 218 tonnes in 2009-10, 227 tonnes in 2010-11, 228 tonnes in 2011-12, 254 tonnes in 2012-13, 266 tonnes in 2013-14, 282 tonnes in 2014-15 and 294 tonnes in 2016-17.