First hatchery in EKW

First hatchery in East Kolkata Wetlands begins operations

SCOPE in collaboration with the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal and 4 No Bhery Fishermen’s Cooperative Society took a vital step towards enhancement of productivity by erecting a hatchery for breeding high value fish – Singhi (Heteropneustes fossilis, also known as Asian stinging catfish), Magur (Clarias batrachus, also known as walking catfish – both these are  freshwater catfish) and Koi (Anabas testudineus, also known as climbing perch – a labyrinth fish) – all of these are air-breathing fishes found in South Asia and South Eastern Asia and Far East Asia in case of Koi. These fetch good value in the market.

The Hatchery took two months to complete, starting beginning December and ending beginning February. The first training was dependent upon getting good quality breeding fish, and it took place in end-May. The pictures are self-explanatory.

The first batch of trained fish farmers come from a combination of places – big-cooperatives namely 4 No bheri, leaseholders in private bheris interested in pursuing breeding activity separately and small pond owners. All of them will work towards honing their breeding skills, till they are ready to pass on to the next batch.

The next few months will be critical. They will show the scale at which the work can proceed. They will throw up challenges. And they will also show what is the possible time it will take to evolve an economic model for this high value breeding to fetch returns.