GUWAHATI, Aug 28 � Even though there have been some gains in the development of the fisheries sector in the state, recent data suggests that the production is still far below the recognised potential. Well-placed sources admit that while the potential for fish production is around 500 million kg, only about 230 million kg production has been possible so far.
The growth rate of the sector now stands at around six and half per cent per year, which needs to rise rapidly if the potential is to be reached. Unable to meet its demand, the state continues to bring in substantial consignments of fish from other states.
Sources, which wished anonymity pointed to several factors for such a situation, a major factor being absence of adequate information for motivating the farmers along with lack of mechanization. Because of this, the development of fisheries has not been uniform among the fish farmers.
It has been said that mechanized devices can be effectively used for removal of weeds, pond excavation and management. Aerators for oxygen supply also can play crucial roles in developing fisheries according to modern methods. However, both have not been promoted in a manner that can augment yield in a major way.
Officials agree that more mechanization and better monitoring are pre-requisites if the fish farmers are to increase their production. The farmers are also in need of better bank finance opportunities, as many of them do not possess the collateral to secure loans. In recent times, NABARD has come forward to finance some fish farmers, which has allowed them to increase production manifold.
Significantly, in the BTAD areas, production of fish has not been possible to the desired extent. It has now emerged that most of the fish seed production units in the Government sector in BTAD areas have failed to produce quality fish seed. This in turn has cascaded into difficulties for farmers who have to depend on them.
It may be mentioned that fish farmers, many of whom have no other source of income have not been informed about the probable effects climatic changes can bring to their stock. Most fish species are extremely sensitive to temperature, and some fish producing states have initiated steps to make their fish farmers aware about the impact of climate change on fish production.