Wetland Economics: 1. Fish Production in a Freshwater Beel of West Bengal
Wetland economics more precisely fish production data of a freshwater beel, viz., Bhomra beel, an oxbow lake of 99.28 water area in Nadia district of West Bengal is herein communicated. Bhomra Fishermen Cooperative Society Ltd. (BFCS), established in 1957, is the lease holder of this beel which presently provides livelihood to 313 fishermen families. Fish production data reveal that the productions of both carp and weed fish varieties (amacha) vary from year to year in this beel. In 2001-2002 table fish production was 42,485 kg in terms of quantity and Rs. 12,18,221 in terms of value along with weed fish of 7,848 kg in quantity and Rs. 2,35,494 in value, while the production of table fish in 2010-2011 was 27,300 kg in quantity and Rs. 16,97,200 in value along with weed fish of 5,226 kg in quantity and Rs. 3,13,260 in value. Ten years' average annual overall fish production was 46,733.1 kg during 1991-2000 as per earlier records and 39,926.3 kg during 2001-2010 (in the present study), indicating a decline in production. It has also been revealed that fishermen engaged in catching weed fish species get almost the entire sale proceeds from the society since they are to pay Rs. 30 per month for catching amacha. However, conflicting issues over lifting of beel water for irrigation purpose hampering harvesting of fish during summer as well as local disturbances and threats need to be mitigated for better production achievement and sustainable utilization of wetland resource base.
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