Millennium Post

Fisheries dept signs MoU with Norwegian varsity for assistance in Hilsa breeding

Fisheries dept signs MoU with Norwegian varsity for assistance in Hilsa breeding

Kolkata: The state Fisheries department has signed an MoU with a Norwegian university for assistance in breeding of Hilsa at two strategic points on the river bed in the state.

"Breeding of Hilsa in pond or river water has been taken up sporadically in some parts of the state. But we want to do it on a large scale. So we have tied up with a Norwegian university, which is an expert in this field. We have already prepared a short term and a long term plan. The short term plan's agreement is for a period of three years. We have identified two places on the river at Farakka and Tribeni, where we will come up with sanctuaries for carrying out Hilsa breeding," said Chandranath Sinha, state Fisheries minister.

The state Fisheries department has already come up with the country's first ever dedicated Hilsa Conservation & Research Centre (HCRC) at Sultanpur in Diamond Harbour in December 2013. Breeding with Norwegian assistance will also be taken up at Diamond Harbour.

The department gradually wants to stop the import of Hilsa from Myanmar. Hilsa, popularly known as Ilish, is about the identity, history and nostalgia of Bengalis, apart from being one of their favourite delicacies.

Over the years, due to wanton exploitation, pollution and habitat destruction, there has been a decline in the availability of Hilsa in both sea and river, which has prompted the department to take all possible steps for increased production of the fish.

The fish is anadromous. They school in coastal waters and ascend up the rivers for around 50–100 km, to spawn during the South-West monsoons (June to September) and also in January to April. April is the most fertile month for breeding of Hilsa.

The catching, marketing and transportation of Hilsa less than 23 cm is banned in the state. "We have put in place vigilante teams in all the concerned districts for keeping regular vigil on markets and landing centres. Special raids are conducted during the designated ban period between September 15 and October 24 each year," a department official said.

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