The fish supply chain witnessed disruptions during the lockdown 1.0 period in the Sunderban area of West Bengal. According to a market survey conducted by the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI) during the early phase of lockdown, the volume of fish trade was declined by 67 % of the total volume in Gosaba block of North 24 Parganas of Sundarban area.
“Three fishing villages and three fish markets in Gosaba block of North 24 Paraganas of Sundarban area were surveyed on the impact of COVID-19 in fisheries activities. Ninety-four households were surveyed on the impact of COVID-19 on individual household fisheries activities. During the Market survey, it was observed that the volume of fish trade has been reduced to 33% of the volume,” said Dr. Basanta Kumar Das, Director, ICAR-CIFRI
According to the report, the price of fishes has been increased to 1.25 times for IMC and Medium carps, whereas the price of other commercial species available in the estuarine zone has been decreased to less than 50% as they are mostly supplied to the bigger market in urban areas. The price of small indigenous fishes has been reduced to 25 – 50%. The decrease in the price of other commercial species is due to the non-availability of the marketing channel.
The fishing scenario in the Sundarban area was observed that only 10% of boats were operating for fishing. Again there is a reduction in 50% of total members in each boat. The fishing days have been reduced to 33%. However, in each boat, the 50% increase in fish harvest was observed.
The market channel is not available and ice is also not available locally for fish transport. Fishermen forced to sell the fish in the local market at a cheaper price.
The nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19 has affected the fish value chain throughout India. The required fish seed, fish feed, and other accessories were not available to the fishers/ fish farmers at the required time during the lockdown.
The price of freshwater fishes like IMCs have increased in the markets of Odisha, West Bengal, and Bihar, due to the hike in demand and the major chunk of the profit was taken by the local fish sellers rather than the fishermen. The lockdown has affected the livelihoods of millions of inland fishers in India and also the fish production from inland sector
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