The West Bengal Fisheries Department is on course to reach 18.5 lakh-tonne production target in 2018-19, Fisheries Minister Chandra Nath Sinha said today.
Sinha, who was addressing a CII Fisheries Conclave here, said the state government has chalked out a five-year road map to instill awareness and proper education among the fishermen to go for scientific and modern ways of farming.
"In 2017-2018, we managed 17.4 lakh-tonne production of fish. But, we need to raise the production level by several notches in another five years. We need to encourage fishermen to shift to more modern and scientific way of pisciculture. We need to maximise use of ponds in rural areas," he said.
Sinha said 1.7 lakh tonnes of fish were exported in 2017-18, including the volume sold to other states in the country. "We have the potential to substantially increase the volume of exports, too, in another five years."
He said many ponds in rural Bengal have not been properly used, due to factors like one water body having several owners for years and sticking to traditional fish farming.
If these can be sorted out, there will be better utilisation of ponds for pisciculture and water bodies can be more economically viable, he said.
Sinha said the department was planning to increase farming of endangered species of fishes, including starting rearing of small fishes in water bodies by local fishermen.
"We are giving more stress on high-yield aqua farming and adopting modern marketing ways," Managing Director of State Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd (SFDC), Soumyajit Das said.
He said the SFDC was developing a cold chain network system to store fishes and has introduced a mobile app for customers in the city for delivery of fish.
Meanwhile, a CII official said a white paper will be prepared on ways to facilitate loans to fishermen and introduce insurance facilities, on the lines of crop insurance to farmers.