The ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Regional Centre, Guwahati, Assam developed the protocols for the Culture Based Fisheries (CBF) and Pen Culture Technology for the Floodplain Wetlands (Beels) of North-East India. As a part of the outreach activities initiated by the ICAR-CIFRI under the North-Eastern Hills Component, the Institute demonstrated culture-based fisheries (CBF) and pen culture in Bamuni Beel (N 26º 18' 91'' and E 91º 45' 60''), Kamrup Rural District, Assam.
The Bamuni Beel, a closed Floodplain Wetland of the Lower Brahmaputra Valley, is a Small Beel having 16 ha water spread area and roughly oval in shape. The water depth in the beel is 2.5 M to 3.7 M in Monsoon which gets reduced to 1.5 M to 2.5 M during winter making it suitable for both pen culture and CBF.
The livelihood of 65 Bodo Tribal Households of Bamunigaon Village under the Bezera Development Block depends on the Beel. Prior to 2006-07, the Beel supported purely capture fisheries and was annually leased to private parties for quite low amounts (Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000/- per Month).
Little or no supplementary stocking was practiced in the Beel, resulting in low fish production (approximately 6.29 Tonnes) and modest net annual income to the community members (@ Rs. 17,692 per Household) during 2019-20.
The Beel was selected to demonstrate CBF and Pen Culture through the community participation to enhance the income of the local tribal fisher families.
The programme was executed by ICAR-CIFRI, Regional Centre, Guwahati after conducting Awareness Programmes followed by Supplementary Fish Seed Stocking Programme in the Beel on 19th October, 2020 and Pen Culture using CIFRI-HDPE pens on 23rd February, 2021. The Institute stocked a total of 48,000 advanced fish fingerlings (@ 3,000 per ha. comprising of Indian major carps, minor carps and exotic carps in the Beel for CBF in consultation with the local community).
The CIFRI Pen HDPE (3,000 m2 area) installed in the Beel were stocked with carp fingerlings (@ 3 to 9 per m3) and fed with CIFRI-CageGrow floating feed (28% crude protein) for production of table fish as AN additional income.
The fishes were reared for a period of 6 Months in the pens. The bigger sized fishes were harvested on 7th September, 2021 and smaller fishes were released in the Beel proper. The major harvest of fishes from the Beel was done during 12th to 13th January, 2022 and sold on the occasion of Magh Bihu (Assamese Community’s Festival) to get a good price (average Rs. 230 per Kg). A total of 13.52 Tonnes of fishes were harvested and sold from the Beel during 2021-22 (till date).
All the 65 Bodo tribal fisher families of the Village received an annual net income of Rs. 44,763 per family. The successful adoption of CBF and pen culture, thus, led to 117% increase in the total fish production and 153% increase in net income of the local tribal fishers compared to 2019-20.
The CIFRI Pen HDPE and CIFRI CAGEGROW are the registered trademarks in the name of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
(Source: ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, Kolkata)