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Boroli fish coming to entice palates of Bengal's fish lovers

Soumitra Nandi
Kolkata: The fish loving Bengalis of South Bengal can now savour one of the most popular fishes of the northern part of the state.
The State Fisheries Development Corporation (SFDC) has started cultivating Boroli fish at three places in South Bengal and are hopeful that people in this part of the state can have it on their plate before the Durga Pujas this year.
"We have brought as many as 23,000 Boroli fish seeds from Jalpaiguri in North Bengal and are now cultivating it in three large waterbodies - Nalban Jheel adjacent to the Nalban Food Park, Goltala jheel near Chingrighata and Chotkhand jheel at Memari in East Burdwan," SFDC general manager (technical) BK Mondal said.
It may be mentioned that the suggestion of cultivating Boroli (Barilius Barila) in South Bengal was mooted by state Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha at a meeting and SFDC officials accepted the challenge as according to IUCN Red List, the Boroli fish is vulnerable and is facing high risk of extinction.
It may also be mentioned that Boroli variety is one of the most delicious fishes available in clear streams in the foothills of North Bengal. The variety is often referred to as Ilish (Hilsa) of North Bengal. "We have taken up this venture with the objective of conserving this high-valued, delicious fish as well as to bring it under culture and breeding through the progressive pisciculturist of the state," a senior SFDC official said.
The SFDC has followed a careful and scientific approach right from transportation of the fish seeds to releasing them in the waterbodies. Talking about the measures taken for cultivation of this riverine fish in ponds, a senior SFDC official said they have provided electrical paddle wheel aerators for creating water current, taking into account the fact that the fish needs running water like river for its growth. "To control the optimum water temperature (below 30 degree Celcius) in pond, we have increased the depth of water above 7 feet with 40-50 percent surface area of the pond covered by thick polythene sheet to protect direct them from sunlight during bright sunny days. We have also installed air jet that can maintain the optimum oxygen level as well as inject oxygen upto the bottom of the pond," a senior SFDC official said.
A standard Boroli fish weighs around the range of 50 to 100 gm and is available in markets of the North Bengal plains, particularly Jalpaiguri in the range of Rs 700 to Rs 1200.
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