GUWAHATI, Sept 20 – After years of poor growth, local fish production in Assam has risen during the last few months. Monthly fish production since July, 2010, is about 18-20 million kg, which can meet the local demand, according to well-placed sources in the Fisheries Department.
In view of the importance of the fishery sector in providing nutrition to the people, employment generation and livelihood to the rural sector, and to explore prospects for the sector to grow further, the State Fisheries Department is adding more thrust in recent times.
In 2009, production of local fish was 218 million Kg which was 5.82 per cent higher than the previous year. The State has also been able to supply about four million kg of fish to the adjacent States, a fishery official stated.
The quantity of fish brought in from outside the State has been reduced from last three months, an executive from the Paltan Bazar Wholesale Fish Market informed. This could be due to availability of more local fish in markets.
Sources claim that the local fish production is increasing due to stricter implementation of the Fishery Rules. A large number of drag and mosquito net has been seized which was used illegally at proclaimed fisheries, a senior fishery official mentioned.
Motivation of unemployed rural youths in this sector is another cause for the rise in local fish production. Last year a total of 567 ha of low lying area was developed through 495 Self Help Groups and Common Interest Groups.
Higher institutional credit through the facilitation of the Department has also emerged as an advantage particularly to economically weak fish farmers. Prevailing weather conditions has been cited as another reason for higher yields in most districts of the state.
Beel fisheries is an important resource for fish production in the State and the Assam Fisheries Development Corporation's initiatives include pen and cage culture technology in the periphery of the Beel area for seed as well as fish production. The Department has developed 39 Beel fisheries with a total area about 662 ha for last two years.
Women empowerment programme in fish farming mainly for rearing of quality fish seed has resulted in minimising the dearth of fish seed at proper time. A total of 5,500 women are now engaged in raising quality fish seed in different parts of the state. If favourable conditions persist, the state will meet the economic demand of fish for the state, the source added.
However, the marketing infrastructure of the fish market of the state continues to remain unhygienic. The department is expected to improve the market channel and the marketing infrastructure for the benefit of the farmers, which can minimize the dominance of middlemen.
The Department may also declare a particular fish as State fish as has been done in 17 States in the country. This initiation could increase the population of the fish and thus give additional boost to overall production.