ICAR-CIFRI Conducted ‘Farmers Sensitization Workshop on Climate Resilient Fisheries in Wetlands’ and Demonstration of Climate Resilient Pen Systems (CRPS) on the Occasion of World Wetland Day
India is blessed with plenty of water resources under floodplain wetlands to the tune of 0.554 million ha which are characteristic features along the rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Barak basin especially along their middle and lower stretches in the eastern and north eastern part of country. Though the wetlands in the eastern region of India have huge potential for fish production but they are underutilized due to multitude of factors. The ecosystem functions offered by floodplain wetlands are vulnerable to climatic variability and other stressors. Last century has witnessed substantial change in climate with increase in temperature in the range of 0.6°C, change in rainfall patterns and occurrence of extreme climatic events. Climate change will exacerbate the threats posed to the inland fisheries by other anthropogenic stressors as wetlands are becoming closed due to low river flows. It has been found that the impact of climate change on wetlands is quite wide and it ranges from changes in fish production, habitat quality through sedimentation, water stress, aquatic weed proliferation etc. which in turn affects the livelihood of fishers dependent on these wetlands.
In view of the above, Farmers Sensitization Workshop on “Climate Resilient Fisheries in Wetlands” and demonstration of Climate Resilient Pen Systems (CRPS) for fish raising was organized by ICAR-CIFRI at Mathura Beel, Kachrapara, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal on 02.02.2018 on the occasion of World Wetland day. The programme was graced by Dr. Bipul Kumar Das, Dean, CoF, WBUAFS as Chief Guest and attended by more than 200 fishers of Kanchrapara Refugee Fishermen’s Co-operative Society, Ltd (KRFCS), officials of Department of Fisheries, including Dr A. Ghosh, DDF, Shri Dilip Mondal, ADF, Shri Chamak Majumdar, CEO, Mathura beel, Govt. of West Bengal. The programme was also attended by Scientists and other staffs and members of NICRA project, ICAR-CIFRI. The event was covered by various news channels and media partners.
The programme started with welcome address by Dr. U. K. Sarkar, HoD, Reservoir and Wetland Fisheries Division, ICAR-CIFRI and PI, NICRA. In his welcome note, he highlighted the importance of the World Wetland Day and climate smart strategies for wetland fisheries enhancement and conservation. In his concluding remarks he stated that sustainable development of wetlands fisheries through climate resilient technologies and adaptation strategies will not only help to cope up with adverse impact of climatic variability but also in increasing fish production, for sustainable livelihood and nutritional security to rural populace.
On this occasion Dr. B. K. Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI emphasized on conservation and restoration of high value small indigenous species of wetlands. He further added that the climate change is exacerbating the problems posed to the wetland fisheries by anthropogenic stressors. For enhancing adaptive capacity of wetland fishers, ICAR-CIFRI Barrackpore has initiated demonstration of climate resilient adaptation strategies in wetlands. On this occasion, Director, ICAR-CIFRI also inaugurated the CRPS in Mathura Beel and released fish seed of IMCs, Bata, Mola, Puthi and Khoira in the pens. The demonstration of CRPS in Mathura beel, Kanchrapara aims to serve as a model for this region. Dr. B. K. Das appreciated the enthusiasm and support provided by the state fisheries officials of the district.
Dr Bipul Kumar Das, Chief guest of the function stressed upon depleted indigenous fish stock and supply of high priced fishes in local market. He appreciated ICAR-CIFRI for organising this programme which has the direct involvement with the local fishermen community.
The representatives from Department of Fisheries, Govt. of West Bengal, Dr. A. S. Ghosh, Deputy Director and Mr. D. Mondal, ADF shared their experience and emphasized on restoration of wetlands through sustainable management for the benefit of the local community and members of the society. They also highlighted the new initiatives undertaken by the state government towards fisheries enhancement and livelihood. They congratulated ICAR-CIFRI for this joint venture towards mitigation of climate adversities in wetlands. Dr. V. R. Suresh, Head of Division, ICAR-CIFRI and Shri Surya Sen, Secretary, Kanchrapara Refugee Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Ltd. (KRFCS) expressed their views and concerns for wetland fisheries development and conservation through community participation.
On this juncture ICAR-CIFRI also signed a MoU with KRFCS Ltd. for demonstration of climate resilient adaptation strategies in Mathura beel. A stakeholder’s interaction was also organised in which fishers raised their concern on siltation and weed proliferation in the wetlands.
The programme ended with vote of thanks by Dr. Aparna Roy, Scientist, ICAR-CIFRI.