Lucrative and prized fishes of river Ganga like Rohu (Labeo rohita), Catla (Catla catla), Mrigel(Cirrhinus mrigala) and Kalbasu (Labeo calbasu) commonly known as Indian Major Carp (IMC) have been declined severely with 43.50 % few years back, is now contributing only 1.48% out of total annual production. Thus, it is need of the hour to re-establish these highly demanding fishes of Ganga through river ranching and sensitizing the fishers. In this context, a programme for ranching of Indian Major Carps was organized at Milan Dwip, Balagarh, Dist-Hooghly, West Bengal for fish restoration and conservation in river Ganga on 3 rd November, 2017 by ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore in collaboration with Sripur Balagarh Matsyajibi Cooperative Society. Dr. Aparna Roy, Scientist, welcomed the guests and highlighted the social relevance of the present ranching event. Dr. Ranjan Kumar Manna,
Principal Scientist and Co-Principal Investigator of the Project addressed everyone with a brief note on the importance of conserving the fishes of river Ganga as the river itself was a pristine site of biodiversity, which impaired lately. Dr. Basanta Kumar Das, Director, ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute and Principal Investigator of the present ongoing CIFRI- NMCG project highlighted that the prime aim of the project is the restoration of these four prized Major Carps in River Ganga in all selected sites of the river in different states of the country. He also expressed his serious concern about the ongoing fish destruction using small meshed mosquito net and thus causing loss of aquatic biodiversity over past few years. He addressed the audience with few important conservational issues related with the riverine fisheries like overfishing of juveniles and brooder/mother fish especially during monsoon months. Giving credit to the efforts of ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries and Research Institute and the National Mission for Clean Ganga project, Chief Guest of the occasion Mr. Ashim Majhi Member of Legislative Assembly (Balagarh Constituency), West Bengal said that “our holy river Ganga must stay pure and clean.” He also requested to avoid littering activities in river Ganga and highlighted that traditional practices should not be overpowered by prejudice. Fisheries sector in Ganga should be rejuvenated through coordinated efforts by both central and state government agencies, he added. Mrs. Popi Mustafi, Panchayet Pradhan, Balagarh requested the local fishers to avoid practice of using mosquito fishing nets for making the restoration effort a successful one. Assistant Director of Fisheries (ADF) of Hooghly district, Govt. of West Bengal, Dr. Parthasarathi Kundu has strongly supported the present initiative of ICAR-CIFRI to restore the fisheries of Ganga. The ranching of the river through fish seed of Indian Major Carp i.e. Rohu, Catla, Mrigel and Kalbasu not only increase the catch but also helps in keeping the river clean as fishes feed on the organic remnants in the river.
In this occasion, about 60,000 seeds of Major Carp have been released in main channel of the river. The event was attended by more than 100 no. of local fishermen and their families.Finally, Dr. Das, Director discussed various issues related to Namami Gange programe adopted by Govt. of India. He addressed the fishers regarding holistic management and conservation of river Ganga to promote successful livelihood enhancement in the future.