Big boost: Post floods, fishes teem in Bihar waters

Patna, Dec. 15 -- The impact of floods early this year in Bihar may have been devastating. But there are indications that the deluge has given a big boost to fishery with seed production reaching 700 million due to abundance of water bodies after drought-like situation in the last seven years.

Officials now say Bihar will be able to realise its ambition of becoming self-sufficient in fish and even become an exporting state in the next couple of years.

Animal husbandry and fisheries department director Nishat Ahmed said: "If the present production of fish seeds and supplementary feed was maintained, we will be self-sufficient and exporting state in two years time."

Bihar produces five lakh tonnes of fish against its annual requirement of 7 lakh tonnes. The state imports around 1.43 lakh tonnes of fish, mainly Rohu and Katla, from Andhra Pradesh annually.

States like West Bengal and Odisha are also a major supplier of fish, like Hilsa, Pomfret, prawns and some other varieties found in the Gangetic basin.

"Floods in Bihar has helped in recharging water bodies in dry areas of Vaishali, Samastipur and Begusarai districts of north Bihar. This has helped in increasing fish seed production and starting new hatcheries. Our production capacity is set to increase by the next harvest," said Ahmed.

Bihar's fish production was expected to gallop to over 7 lakh tonnes in the next two years and could easily achieve the target of 8.02 lakh tonnes by 2022 as per the government's agricultural road map, Ahmad added.

So, would the state stop importing fish from Andhra Pradesh?

Ahmed was confident that home grown fish would be cater to the needs of state fish lovers and insisted that already four districts - Darbhanga, Purnia, Banka and Khagaria - had stopped importing from the coastal state.

"Price of fish, be it Rohu or Katla, crashed in Khagaria district of north Bihar due to overproduction this year. In some parts of the district, fish produced in ponds were being sold at Rs 120 per kg against Rs 250 in Patna," he added.

There is now focus on producing only fish like Rohu, Katla and Naini, given that these varieties had better yield per hectare. "We are opening one big centre for supplementary feed in Madhepura, besides those in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and Motihari. Supplementary feed is important for fish production as otherwise we have to be dependent on other states," added Ahmed.

Source: HT Digital streams Ltd