A new form of fish farming, known as ‘Cage Culture’, is set to take place in flowing water of beels, ponds and fisheries in various parts of Assam, raising hopes for an increased production of fish.
The practice, under which fishes will be nurtured in enclosures, has already brought hopes to many farmers in many districts because of the scope to grow a higher quantity of variety of fishes in cages compared to ponds, beels and fisheries.
The scheme designed as fish farming in cages will be initially implemented in 10 places in Bongaigaon, Baksa, Barpeta and Nagaon district as pilot projects.
Under the new practice, a battery of 10 cages will be installed in a particular pond or fishery or beel. While three cages will be used to raise fingerlings, the rest seven cages will be used for fish production. As a result, raising of fingerlings will be three times more than the conventional method. Similarly, fish production will be double than the traditional practice.
Secretary of Fishery department Rakesh Kumar told The Sentinel that the prime objective of adopting the practice of fish farming in cages is to exploit the full potential of this sector to make Assam self-sufficient in fish production. He said such a practice will also be very beneficial for farmers of flood-prone State like Assam. Kumar added that since the cages will float in water, the annual flood water cannot destroy fish farming under the new system. Floods will not be able to wash away fishes as the cages will keep floating above the rising water. Under such farming, big fishes cannot hunt fingerlings since they will be protected under cages. Farmers can produce four to five types of different fishes in cages.
The cost of a single project will be Rs 10 lakh. While the beneficiaries will have to bear 30 per cent of the total cost, the rest 70 per cent will be borne by the State Government as subsidies.
At present, Assam produces around 2.94 lakh tonne of fishes against the annual demand of 3.40 lakh tonne.
As a part of Chief Minister’s Samagra Gram Unnayan Yojana, the Fishery department is initiating various steps such as development of beels, setting up of fish seeds bank, expansion of fish farming culture and adoption of innovative measures to enhance fish production in the State.