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Working Paper 7 December 2002

Overview of fish seed production and distribution in West Bengal, India

Milwain, G.K., Little, D.C., Kundu, N. and Immink, A. J. 2002. Overview of fish seed production and distribution in West Bengal, India. Stirling, UK: Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling and Kolkata, India: Institute of Wetland Management and Ecological Design [Working Paper]

For further information please contact the project team leader: Dr Stuart Bunting Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland Tel: +44 (0)1786 456573, Fax: +44 (0)1786 451462

or visit the project website at:

The authors retain the copyright to materials presented in this report

Disclaimer: This publication is an output from a project funded by the Natural Resources Systems Programme of UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID. Additional resources were provided by the Aquaculture and Fish Genetics Research Programme.


Contents Contents ....................................................................................................................... iii Acronyms.......................................................................................................................v Glossary.........................................................................................................................v List of Tables List of Figures ............................................................................................................. vii List of Appendices ..................................................................................................... viii 1. Summary ................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Background ......................................................................................................... 1 The Survey.......................................................................................................... 1 Key Findings....................................................................................................... 1 Hatchery Practices .............................................................................................. 2 Nursery Practices ................................................................................................ 3 Fish Seed Distribution ........................................................................................ 4 Fish Seed Quality and Availability..................................................................... 5 Constraints .......................................................................................................... 5 Vulnerabilities,Trends and Livelihood Outcomes .............................................. 6

2. Objectives .................................................................................................................. 7 3. Introduction............................................................................................................... 7 4. Methods ..................................................................................................................... 8 5. Historical Background .............................................................................................. 9 6. Species and Technologies ......................................................................................... 9 7. Hatchery Practices ................................................................................................... 15 7.1 7.2 7.3 8.1 8.2 8.3 Hatchery Facilities, Ongrowing and Sales........................................................ 15 Broodstock Management .................................................................................. 17 Species Cultured ............................................................................................... 21 Hatchling Origins.............................................................................................. 23 Nursing Facilities, Practices and Sales ............................................................. 23 Species Cultured ............................................................................................... 27

8. Nursery Practices..................................................................................................... 23

9. Fish Seed Marketing and Distribution .................................................................... 29 9.1 Fish Seed Distribution: Hatcheries and Nurseries ............................................ 29 9.1.1 Hatchery Seed Distribution........................................................................ 29 9.1.2 Nursery Hatchling Supplies ....................................................................... 30 9.1.3 Nursery Fry and Fingerling Distribution ................................................... 36 9.2 Naihati Fish Seed Market ................................................................................. 38 9.2.1 Fish Seed Sources ...................................................................................... 38 9.2.2 Local Fish Seed Distribution ..................................................................... 38 9.2.3 Distant Fish Seed Dis tribution................................................................... 42


10 Case studies............................................................................................................. 45 10.1 Bankura ............................................................................................................. 45 10.2 Midnapore ......................................................................................................... 46 10.3 Purulia ............................................................................................................... 47 10.4 Food-fish Production in the East Calcutta Wetlands ........................................ 48 10.4.1 Nature of the System.................................................................................. 48 10.4.2 Environmental Issues of Fish Culture ........................................................ 50 10.4.3 Benefits of Aquaculture ............................................................................. 51 10.4.4 Fish Seed Supply....................................................................................... 51 11 Fish Seed Quality and Supply ................................................................................. 54 12 Constraints to Fish Seed Production and Distribution........................................... 56 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Hatcheries ........................................................................................................ 56 Nurseries .......................................................................................................... 58 Marketing and Distribution.............................................................................. 58 Food-fish Production in the East Calcutta Wetlands ....................................... 62 General............................................................................................................. 62

13 Livelihood Issues of Fish Seed Production and Distribution.................................. 63 13.1 'Actors' Livelihood Asset Status ...................................................................... 63 13.2 Livelihood Vulnerabilities: Seasonality, Shocks and Trends ........................ 65 13.2.1 Seasonal Factors......................................................................................... 65 13.2.2 Shock Factors ............................................................................................. 65 13.2.3 Trends Influencing Livelihoods................................................................. 65 13.3 Livelihood Outcomes........................................................................................ 66 14 Summary and Conclusions...................................................................................... 71 14.1 Sustainable Development and Livelihood Status of Fish Culture .................... 71 14.1.1 Food-fish.................................................................................................... 71 14.1.2 Actor Network and Distribution ................................................................ 71 14.1.3 Hatcheries................................................................................................... 72 14.1.4 Nurseries .................................................................................................... 72 14.1.5 Ongrowing ................................................................................................. 72 14.1.6 ECW and the Fish Seed Network .............................................................. 73 15.1.7 Fish Seed Quality....................................................................................... 73 15.1.8 General....................................................................................................... 73 15.1.8 Socio-economic.......................................................................................... 73 References ...................................................................................................................... 75 Appendices..................................................................................................................... 79


Acronyms AP: Andhra Pradesh CICFRI: Central Inland Capture Fisheries Research Institute DFID: Department for International Development ECW: East Calcutta Wetlands FSMS: Fish Seed Multiplication Station IMC: Indian Major Carp IWMED: Institute of Wetland Management and Ecological Design MT: Metric tonnes NRSP: Natural Resources Systems Programme


Batam cake: local fish feed (undefined) Bati: vessel used for measuring quantities of hatchlings Bheri: earthen pond used for fish production Dallal: agents and fish availability / quality informants used in establishing and securing the transactions of live fish of all life stages between two parties Earthen hapa: small shallow earthen pond used for holding fish Golder: trader who transports large quantities of fish seed by truck (owned or hired) Golder employee: sometimes permanent but usually seasonal employees of golders involved in husbandry of fish seed during transportation in truck and from truck to purchasers facilities Hapa: nylon net cage used for holding fish Mahua cake: distillation residue of the fruit (Manileara indica) used as a natural pesticide in pond preparation Hundi: small aluminium vessel used for transporting fish (also known as patil in Bangladesh) Patil Wallah: independent trader who transports small quantities of live fish and seed in hundies, usually on foot, bicycle / rickshaw or public transportation (buses / trains)

List of Tables Table 1: Livelihood assets and vulnerability sub-classification and description........... 10 Table 2: Jessores development as an important seed production centre in Bangladesh10 Table 3: Facilities and practices in hatcheries investigated in West Bengal ................. 18 Table 4: Broodstock feeding strategies in 5 hatcheries ................................................. 19 Table 5: Induced spawning hormone protocols used by hatcheries (n=10)................... 19 Table 6: Broodstock inventories for hatcheries in West Bengal.................................... 22 Table 7: Hatchery and nursery fish seed distribution dynamics .................................... 24 Table 8: Inventory of nursery facilities and practices based on visits in West Bengal . 28 Table 9: Golders fry and fingerling transportation details ........................................... 36 Table 10: Origin and distribution of fish seed passing through Naihati Seed Market... 40 Table 11: Producers and middlemen's indicators of fish seed quality........................... 54 Table 12: Respondents perceptions of influential factors over fish seed quality......... 55 Table 13: Satisfaction in fish seed quality and availability amongst actors .................. 56 Table 14: Overview of asset status of network actors ................................................... 58 Table 15: Seasonal factors affecting production and distribution ................................. 59 Table 16: 'Shock' vulnerability factors affecting production......................................... 61


List of Figures Figure 1: Districts surveyed in West Bengal ................................................................. 11 Figure 2: Study area showing hatchery, nursery, fish seed market and ECW locations 12 Figure 3: Sustainable livelihoods framework ................................................................ 13 Figure 4: Mr Nilu Ghosh in front of a broodstock pond ................................................ 13 Figure 5: Hatchery, Mogra, Chinese cisterns (foreground) and groundwater tanks (background) ........................................................................................................... 14 Figure 6: Hatchery, Nabanagar, concrete up-welling cisterns incubating eggs............. 14 Figure 7: Bati used for measuring quantities of hatchlings ........................................... 15 Figure 8: Catfish auctioned in a market in the East Calcutta Wetlands......................... 17 Figure 9: Hatchery, Kalyani, weighing broodstock for pituitary hormone injection..... 20 Figure 10: Hatchery, Kalyani, hormonal injection of broodstock ................................. 20 Figure 11: Hatchery, Kalyani, stripping eggs from female broodstock......................... 21 Figure 12: Hatchling sources for nurseries investigated in West Bengal ...................... 26 Figure 13: Mahua cake soaking in pond water before application, ECW ..................... 27 Figure 14: The fish seed distribution network, channels to food / brood- fish production and actors involved.................................................................................................. 31 Figure 15: Hatchery, Mogra, packing hatchlings for air transport ................................ 32 Figure 16: Hatchery, Mogra, oxygenating water for hatchlings .................................... 32 Figure 17: Hatchery, Mogra, swirling water to assess hatchling fitness for transport... 33 Figure 18: Hatchery, Mogra, oxygen packed hatchlings loaded onto hatchery truck ... 33 Figure 19: Local distribution of fish seed from hatcheries investigated, West Bengal . 34 Figure 20: Distant distribution of fish seed from hatcheries investigated, West Bengal35 Figure 21: Wetland seed delivery, splashing with hundies to aerate tank water ........... 37 Figure 22: Golders truck in ECW and golder employees distributing fingerlings ...... 37 Figure 23: Local distribution of fry and fingerlings from nurseries investigated, West Bengal...................................................................................................................... 39 Figure 24: Patil Wallah at Naihati Fish Seed Market, on his deliveries........................ 42 Figure 25: Local distribution of fry and fingerlings from Naihati Seed Market, West Bengal (AprJuly) ................................................................................................... 43 Figure 26: Distant distribution of hatchlings from Naihati Seed Market in West Bengal (March-Oct)............................................................................................................. 44 Figure 27: Broodstock pond water conditioning for exotic carps, hatchery, Ramsagar 46 Figure 28: Shallow earthen ponds in Ramsagar Fish Seed Market ............................... 46 Figure 29: Employees inspecting stock in bheri East Calcutta Wetlands .................. 49 Figure 30: Primary environmental and livelihood inputs/outputs of bheries, ECW ..... 49 Figure 31: Channel feeding bheries with slick of black sewage, just discernible ......... 50 Figure 32: Mound of accumulated waste beyond pond, East Calcutta Wetlands.......... 51 Figure 33: Peri-urban dweller catching escaped fish from behri outflows.................... 52 Figure 34: Golders in Sealdah with hatchlings destined for the wetlands..................... 53 Figure 35: Patil Wallah splashing to aerate hundi water............................................... 53 Figure 36: Snails, which consume fish food in nursery ponds ...................................... 58 Figure 37: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to hatcheries .............................. 68 Figure 38: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to nurseries ................................ 68 Figure 39: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to bheries................................... 68 Figure 40: Business status and benefits of actors in the network .................................. 69


List of Appendices Appendix I: Spatial grouping and classification of fish producers in the study.79 Appendix II: Broodstock inventory for hatcheries in West Bengal80 Appendix III: Percentage species output from twenty hatcheries visited in 5 Districts.82 Appendix IV: Potential diseases affecting fish production in West Bengal...83 Appendix V: Substances used in fin- fish culture in West Bengal..85


This report was based on field work undertaken by the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling and IWMED, Calcutta between June and October 2001. Also included, is earlier field work by Immink et al. (2001) and Little et al. (1995). 1. 1.1 1. Summary Background West Bengal is a rice-fish society. The State has 37% of pond resources in India of which 70% are utilised for fish culture producing 1-3 million tonnes of freshwater fin- fish per year. West Bengal is also a major producer and supplier of fish seed to other Indian States. Fish breeding in hatcheries developed from the capture and ongrowing of fish seed from the wild. Natural and physical resources were influential in determining the initiation and growth of the industry; fish seed production is highly concentrated around Naihati which has developed a large fish seed market which facilitates the marketing and distribution of seed within and outside West Bengal. The Survey The survey covered fish seed production and marketing activities in 9 Districts in the southern half of West Bengal and investigated linkages with the East Calcutta Wetlands (ECW), an extensive area of waste water- fed aquaculture. Hatcheries, nurseries, fish seed markets, fish seed marketing and distribution and waste water-fed food-fish producers were assessed. Most foodfish production in the ECW occurs in large shallow ponds (bheries) that are often quite large scale enterprises employing large numbers of manual labourers. Middlemen involved in marketing and distribution of fish seed include wholesale fish seed distributors (golders) and their employees, small-scale traders ( patil wallahs) buying and selling small quantities of fish seed and fish seed and broodfish marketing and supply agents (dallals). Key Findings The fish seed production and marketing private-sector networks are complex and dynamic. Using traditional and modern knowledge, key aspects of which were originally introduced through the State sector, West Bengal has one of the best established and developed fish seed networks in Asia. Linkages between the seed networks and the bheries are strong, but given the scale and productivity of the fish culture in the ECW the linkages are probably less important within the State as a whole than might be expected. Hatchlings tend to be purchased and nursed within the system before stocking at high density into ponds from which small, but marketable fish are constantly harvested. Moreover tilapias, for which seed are produced within the system, now contribute up to 50% of productivity from the systems. There are two major types of seed marketing channels. Large consignments of


1.2 3.


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carp hatchlings are purchased through dallals from hatcheries, or fry from nurseries, and distributed by golders to larger customers or groups of customers. In some cases the dallal and golder is the same person. In contrast patil wallahs tend to distribute fry and fingerlings between nurseries and foodfish farmers directly or via markets. Demand by bheri operators tends to be highly seasonal and dominated by the first major channel through which hatchlings are purchased and nursed within the ECW. 8. In contrast the study showed the importance of seed markets and Distric t level nursing clusters in other parts of West Bengal. These would be expected to generate greater opportunities for the poor through employment and selfemployment in trading. Moreover although overall and carp production still appears to be increasing in the ECW, the relative importance of tilapias is growing, probably at the expense of Indian Major Carps (IMC). If the nutrient constraints of the bheries are mitigated this might be expected to further push the polycultures used towards tilapias and away from carps, negatively impacting on the current seed networks. The relative importance of demand for seed from the ECW, the immediate Province of West Bengal, and other States varies with the actual site of seed production in West Bengal. There are only a few major hatchery clusters, whilst concentrations of nursery operations are more numerous and distributed throughout the State. The relative advantage of West Bengal in producing seed appears to be changing as production has soared and prices declined. Export to other States appears to have changed as capacity to produce carp seed locally has developed, in such States as Andhra Pradesh (AP) that now produces a large proportion of the food-fish carps sold in Calcutta markets; most of the seed trade between AP and West Bengal is now in catfish. One result is the active diversification into novel species occurring in West Bengal and specialisation in niche markets for Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) or Catfish (Clarias sp.), for example. Capacity to produce early season fry is also advantageous as prices decline rapidly into the main season. The major markets for carp seed produced in West Bengal are now Assam, to which an estimated 3000 million seed are transported by road early in the season, and Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, which together have a similar demand. Hatchlings are also transported by air in large quantities to Haryana and to a lesser extent to Punjab and Rajasthan. Hatchery Practices IMCs dominate hatchery production however Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix), Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Calbasu (Labeo calbasu), Japanese puti (Puntius javanicus), Bata (Labeo bata), catfish (Clarias batrachus and Pangasius sp.) and hybrid species contribute to production.




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There is an increasing level of specialisation and diversification occurring, especially among the larger, better established hatchery operations. Pangasius and Clarias catfish, both pure species and local x exotic hybrids are seen as being particularly attractive, although requiring different facilities and skills. Much of the impetus for these changes derives from increasing competition on price for the carps and the availability of new species and knowledge from outside the country, particularly Bangladesh. Earthen hapas were initially utilised for fish breeding, egg incubation and nursing however tube-well fed Chinese cisterns have since become widely popular for egg incubation in most Districts investigated. Skills and knowledge in fish culture have spread primarily through informal networks. Hatchery systems were evident in all Districts with the exception of Purulia. The breeding season ranges from March to September with some regional variation. Pituitary glands are widely utilised for hormone injection of broodstock with most producers using artificial fertilisation, however some additionally practice natural breeding in earthen hapas. In Bankura District the latter method was preferred and predominated. The intensity of broodstock use and sex ratios used in breeding varied through the season between hatcheries. Breeding of fish started and finished at different months in different parts of the State. Broodstock populations were supplemented from the offspring produced in the vast majority of cases with spent broodstock commonly being sold as food- fish. A few hatchery owners renewed broodstock populations from outside sources on an annual basis. The type of hatchery facilities present and production levels varied. About half of the hatcheries investigated retained and nursed a proportion of hatchlings to fry and fingerlings and a small minority also produced some food fish. In general the proportion of seed retained was small (5-20% total), even for hatcheries with nursery capacity. Most hatcheries retained hatchlings (1-5% total) for future broodstock. Hatchlings are sold by volume and sale prices for fish seed varied widely between producers and by season. Lowest prices occur in mid-season (July) with hatchling seedling for as little as Rs50/bati (? 100ml). Early season prices exceed these by a factor of 1.5-5. High mortality rates were evident in some hatcheries which were attributed to poor tube-well water quality, high temperatures and disease. Poor catfish seed survival during pond nursing, perhaps related to its relatively recent introduction, appears to be a constraint. Nursery Practices The scale of individual nursery operations and husbandry practices varied between regions. Some operations were very small, less than 0.5 ha ponds, whilst larger operations exceeded 10ha. Some nursery owners used chemical substances







1.5 20.

and therapeutants for eradicating pathogens and predators when drying and preparing ponds. Mahua cake and lime were widely used in varying amounts to prepare ponds after drying. Hatchling stocking densities varied, as did the number of crops per season, quantities produced and returns, between nurseries. Nursery staff were mostly employed on a temporary basis although larger nurseries and those in the ECW employed people on a permanent basis. 1.6 21. Fish Seed Distribution Fish seed are distributed within and outside West Bengal, either directly from producers or through middlemen and sometimes markets. The major fish seed markets were identified in Naihati (North-24-Parganas), Ramsagar (Bankura) and Purulia town (Purulia). Both open and closed methods of seed transportation are used. Typically fry and fingerlings are more likely to be moved in open aluminium bowls (hundies or patils) or, on a larger scale, in metal tanks in trucks. Hatchlings are also moved in open systems over shorter journeys but in oxygenated plastic bags for long distances. Red soil is commonly added to water used for transporting hatchlings to enhance survival. During fry and fingerling transportation water is commonly aerated through splashing and the quality maintained through periodic replenishment. Therapeutants such as terramyacin and other substances such as glucose, thought to enhance fish seed survival, are also commonly used. Seed stocking densities in transportation were commonly adjusted according to the distance and duration of journeys. Nursery operators in the Naihati area largely utilise Naihati Fish Seed Market as a source of h atchlings. Nursery operators in Hooghly and North-24-Parganas use dallals and either golders or patil wallahs for seed supplies whilst nurseries in Kalna and Bardwan use patil wallahs who supply from local hatcheries. Some nursers in Hooghly and those in Purulia and Midnapore collect hatchlings from hatcheries themselves which in the latter two cases originate largely from Bankura District which has a large hatchery sector but limited nursing facilities. These nursery owners often co-operated and shared transportation costs. Nurseries in the ECW obtained hatchlings mostly through the dallal-golder network. In contrast to hatchery owners, most nursery owners were unaware of the destinations of their fish seed which were distributed through middlemen. In Midnapore and Purulia however fry and fingerlings were sold mainly within their Districts by nursers, which were transported either by themselves, local patil wallahs or the purchasers. 80% of fish seed sales through Naihati Fish Seed Market are hatchlings and 20%, fry and fingerlings which originate from approximately 1000 producers in West Bengal. Local distribution, within West Bengal, (April to July) comprises of fry and fingerlings transported in hundies in trucks of which half are sent to Midnapore. Hatchlings and fry are distributed to other States from the market by plane and truck from March until October with Assam being first and receiving 37% of the total; truck journeys take from 1 to 4 days and species demands showed variation between major States. Nursery ponds within the ECW supply most of the bheries with fingerlings,





although most seed originally comes from Districts to the north of Calcutta through the dallal-golder network. Nurseries and bheries with nursery ponds also source hatchlings from these Districts and Bankura through golders based in both the ECW and Sealdah. Small-scale patil wallahs make a small contribution to seed supply in the area. 1.7 26. Fish Seed Quality and Availability The majority of producers and fish seed distributors are able to assess fish seed quality, primarily through examination of their movement and colour. Factors affecting fish seed quality were; oxygen deficiency in nursery ponds; high temperatures, disease and poor tube-well water quality in hatcheries; and during transportation, low water availability and delays from traffic congestion for some golders and patil wallahs. Although fish seed availability appeared to be sometimes a problem in the ECW, access to seed of satisfactory quality was considered more serious. Forty percent of hatchery owners acknowledged varying degrees of dissatisfaction with regards to the quality of seed which they produced. Bankura District hatcheries were identified by various types of respondents as producing higher quality hatchlings in comparison with other Districts, which concentrated on the quantity of seed produced. The traditional earthen hapa system, more evident in Bankura, is thought to produce better quality seed. Constraints Hatchery broodstock management strategies are potentially disadvantageous to production from the sex ratio used in breeding, intensity of broodstock use and broodstock replenishment methods. Water pumping costs were also a constraint. Mortalities in hatcheries were induced by high temperatures and possibly tubewell water quality, possibly as a result of high iron and arsenic levels. Flooding from the Hooghly River caused stock losses in various areas. Inadequate feeding strategies were potential constraints to fish health and production in nurseries in particular areas, with subsequent disease problems and intensive use of chemicals and therapeutants noted. Erratic water availability from dependence on rainfall to flooding were also problematic for nursery production affecting farm economics. Marketing of fish seed was more problematic for nurseries generally and hatcheries in Bankura than elsewhere. Transportation delays and water exchange problems were less of a concern than high temperature, which also caused mortalities during transportatio n for middlemen. Competition is high in fish seed distribution and extra expenses are incurred by golders from unofficial tolls imposed by the police.




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Many fish seed producers and distributors lacked relevant formal training and access to government or institutional support in terms of training and business management assistance or advice. Fish diseases were significant problems for producers, primarily in winter although occurring throughout the year. Important pathogens appeared to include parasites, protozoans, bacteria and fungi. Vulnerabilities,Trends and Livelihood Outcomes Potential human and environmental health risks were identified from some of the therapeutants and chemicals used in production and pond preparation which could potentially be replaced by less harmful substances. The asset status of actors in the fish seed network generally revealed limited opportunities for enhancement of skills and knowledge. Labour, although abundant, was generally considered poor quality. Customer stability and cooperation between actors were evident although most nursery owners claimed to have weak customer stability. Bheri workers in the ECW were employed throughout the year under government terms and conditions for employment for the area. In some cases nursery labour work was available throughout the year although temporary employees also obtained incomes from fishing or agriculture. Temporary hatchery workers supported themselves through vegetable trading, operating rickshaws and fishing out-of-season. Half of the golders interviewed distributed fish all year whilst some dallals undertook broodstock transactions during winter. Some patil wallahs distributed exotic carp during winter whilst the few golder employees interviewed, some of the poorest in the network, had no income during low trading season. Affordable water supplies were a problem throughout production. Few hatchery owners had vehicles for distributing their own fish seed, fuel costs (ECW) and electricity costs (hatcheries) associated with pumping water were in some cases problematic. According to hatchery owners broodstock quality and supplies were generally satisfactory however conditioning in their own ponds was required in many cases in preparation for the breeding season. The majority of ponds utilised by bheri and nursery operators were owned, although some were leased. Hatchery businesses had the highest ability to invest and low season income was available for most network actors primarily through agriculture, aquaculture or fishing for wild fish stocks and was least available for golder employees. Water availability, disease and financial problems were seasonal constraints for producers. The percentage of businesses subject to vulnerabilities which had shock type effects was high. Shocks included fish disease, theft and flooding, the latter of which was more significant for hatcheries in the vicinity of, and vulnerable to, the river Hooghly floodwaters. An important trend was the increased competition lowering fish seed sale prices in


1.9 35.







hatcheries, reducing profit margins and influencing production strategies. Some hatchery owners with the knowledge and skills were diversifying from Indian Major carp production to more profitable species such as catfish. Food- fish production in the ECW is perceived to be constrained by limiting nutrient supplies, urban encroachment, increasing costs of production (especially labour) and theft problems. 2. Objectives

This study was primarily undertaken to describe and analyse the current production of freshwater fish seed in West Bengal, India (Figure 1) and its distribution both within the state and throughout the country. Important objectives of the work were to assess current practices, trends and constraints within the system and to identify areas of improvement to enhance the prospects of its future sustainable development. Aspects of fish seed availability and quality are discussed in the sustainable development context. The wetlands area to the east of Calcutta (Figure 2) is a large consumer of fish seed and makes a significant contribution to food- fish supplies for local city and rural populations. Fish culture in the ECW and three Districts of West Bengal (Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) are incorporated as case studies within the sustainable development context which is directed at West Bengal as a whole. Given the current rate of population expansion, importance of fish in the diet within various regions and the dependency of many regions within the country on importing fish seed from West Bengal these objectives have particular importance within India. 3. Introduction

Freshwater fin- fish culture is the most important form of aquaculture in providing nutrition to the poor in the Asia-Pacific region with India being only second to China in the scale of world inland aquaculture production (Csavas, 1993). In the Asia-Pacific region 95% of the inland fin- fish species produced in 2000 were of the non-carnivorous cheap varieties, of which 82% comprised of carps (FAO, 2002) which are the primary types of fish cultured in India. Of these, Indian Major Carps (IMC), comprising of rohu (Labeo rohita), catla (Catla catla) and mrigal ( irrhina mrigala), are the primary C species cultured in India with exotic carps, catfish and tilapias being the other main contributors. West Bengal has 37% of the pond resources in India, of which 70% are utilised for fish culture. This state, which is a rice-fish society produces some one to three million tonnes of fish per year and is also a major supplier of fish seed to other States of India (Morrice et al., 1998). Successful food- fish production is largely dependent on the availability of quality fish seed amongst various other factors associated with ongrowing. Difficulties in accessing adequate fish seed can therefore constrain production, business and food- fish supplies. Deficiencies in fish seed supply within India were anticipated eleven years ago with the then level of production estimated as being able to satisfy less than half of customer and consumer demands at the time (Pathak, 1990).



The final stages of the study, based on field survey and interviews with actors in the fish seed production and distribution network, built upon earlier range- finding field investigations by Little et al. (1995) and Immink et al. (2000) in West Bengal. Interviews with key informants, incorporating questionnaires with open and closed type questions, were undertaken to obtain an understanding of the operation of the fish seed production and distribution network in West Bengal and linkages with food- fish production in the ECW. Socio-economic, environmental and technical issues of production, marketing and distribution were investigated where appropriate to establish the status and efficiency of the system and the livelihood outcomes of the actors involved. Hatcheries, nurseries, fish seed markets and a range of individuals identified as being involved in marketing and distribution were investigated in the survey. The ECW, being an area of high production of food- fish and destination of fish seed, was chosen as the initial location for obtaining information and establishing the types and locations of actors involved in the fish seed production and distribution network. Interviews with bheri owners established golders based in Calcutta and wetland markets as the primary distributors of fish seed. Subsequent interviews with golders and their employees identified the locations of hatcheries, nurseries and dallals. Respondents provided variable estimates of hatchery and nursery numbers within the areas identified. During fieldwork a better appreciation of the significance of hatchery and nursery business was obtained and sample numbers were adjusted accordingly, as practical as possible, to account for geographical variations. A greater concentration of hatcheries were found around Naihati whilst high concentrations of nurseries were found in Bandel, Chunchura and Chandannagar (Figure 2). Naihati Seed Market, a focal point for fish seed distribution, provided further opportunities to interview golders and obtain information relating to fish seed sale and distribution through the market. Patil wallahs were located at Naihati Seed Market and a wetland market although, being engaged in work were difficult to interview. Data obtained was based on respondents estimation as few businesses kept records. Cross-checking of information throughout fieldwork, however provided an appreciation of data consistency while enabling identification of actors roles, significance and relationships in the network. Overall, the survey incorporated nine Districts of West Bengal; South24Parganas, North24Parganas, Howra, Midnapore, Hooghly, Nadia, Bardwan, Bankura and Purulia, the locations of which are shown in Figure 1. Livelihood investigations were based on a model (Figure 3) which was developed by the Department for International Development (DFID) and used in poverty assessment and sustainable livelihood development. This framework recognises various geographical areas, social groups and multiple actor influences from community to government level to promote multiple livelihood outcomes. The framework presents the main factors that influence and affect people's livelihoods showing the typical relationships between them. In this framework poor people are viewed as operating in the context of vulnerability, of which within they have a degree of access to certain assets or poverty reducing factors which gain their meaning through the prevailing social, institutional and organisational environment. Livelihood assets (Figure 3) comprise of 5 components of capital; human, social, financial, physical and natural, whilst 'vulnerability' comprises of seasonal factors, 'shocks' and trends (DFID, 1999) of which the meanings are described in Table 1.


Historical Background

A dietary preference for freshwater fish in Greater Bengal, as part of a rice-based diet has been the nutritional support for dense populations on the floodplains of one of Asias largest rivers. Recently, cultured fish have become important in augmenting wild fish stocks with the capture and ongrowing of fish seed from the wild further developing into fish breeding in hatchery systems. Fish seed production began to develop as private sector enterprise clusters at either ends of the Jessore road which links West Bengal and Bangladesh (Figure 1). Many of the established hatchery operators in both countries were post-partition emigrants with backgrounds in wild hatchling harvesting and nursing. Jessore itself was established as a suitable location for fish seed production for a variety of reasons, which were provided by a group Bangladeshi Fishery Officers, as shown in Table 2. In West Bengal carp seed production started in the form of natural breeding in earthen hapas with World Bank hatcheries being established in various States of India in the 1960s. The first intensified production initiated through the government in 1962-63 at CICFRI, Barackpore (Figure 1) used an adapted form of the Chinese cistern system. Consequently, the first private hatchery in West Bengal was established in 1966 in Rajendrapur, Naihati (Figure 1) by Mr Nilu Ghosh (Figure 4) who was trained at CICFRI in 1966 to spawn Indian Major Carps and subsequently bought 30 acres of land for fish culture. Mr Ghosh, an immigrant from Bangladesh, prior to his training was originally a fry trading landlord who raised food- fish and collected fry from the wild, transporting them from Jessore by boat to Calcutta (Figure 1). Mr Ghosh, through employment with CICFRI, and later private networking, has additionally contributed to the development of some 200 hatcheries and 2,000 nurseries in West Bengal. His family continue the business and is well known and respected in the aquaculture field throughout West Bengal and India. Through further networking, relationships and informal training hatchery businesses began to develop further afield from Naihati, which in the 1970s, had only three hatcheries, but is now the major concentration of fish seed production in India. In 1975 Naihati Fish Seed Market developed as a centre for fish seed marketing and distribution involving 300 licensed traders, but has since doubled as fish seed demand has expanded. The use of fish pituitary glands for inducing ovulation became more widespread and in 1981 the Chinese cistern method (Figure 5) became established as did the use of artificial stripping of broodstock in various Districts including the more remote Bankura (Figure 1 and 2). 6. Species and Technologies

IMCs are the primary species produced with other species supplementing to varying degrees in different areas, which include Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix), Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Calbasu (Labeo calbasu), Catfish (Clarias batrachus and Pangasius sp.), Japanese puti (Puntius javanicus), Bata (Labeo bata) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The latter were cultured alongside IMC species in the foodfish production ponds in the wetlands of East Calcutta (Figure 2), whilst within some hatcheries hybrids of Clarias sp. (C. batrachus x C. gariepinus), Pangasius sp. and Rohu - Catla crosses were additionally found. The catfish species, particularly Clarias catfish, appeared to be gaining increasing popularity as a cultured species in the State due to improved economic returns.

Table 1: Livelihood assets and vulnerability sub-classification and description

Livelihood Component Sub-categories Human Capital Social Capital ASSETS Natural Capital Physical Capital Financial Capital Description Skills, knowledge, health, available labour. Social support: e.g. networks, connectedness, trust, mutual co-operation, formal group membership. Access to natural resources: e.g. land, fish, water. Access to affordable transport and energy, materials and provisions. Stock: e.g. cash, livestock, liquid assets. Inflows: money, pensions. Periodic occurrence affecting assets: e.g. prices, production, and employment. Can occur spontaneously and directly destroy assets: floods, storms, conflict, etc. More predictable with influence on rate of return (financial or otherwise): e.g. competition.

Seasonalities Shocks Trends


Table 2: Jessores development as an important seed production centre in Bangladesh

Significan ce Highest

Reasons for Jessores development as an important seed centre

Soil quality; high water holding capacity, pH, high organic matter and fertile.

Communications; easy to market; proximity to railway line; suitable roads.

Demand; high density of baors and ponds locally stimulated early demand, high local demand latterly from baor culture-based fisheries and culture ponds. More intensive culture in the area and higher proportion of perennial ponds requiring more seed.

Proximity to West Bengal for obtaining materials; pituitary glands, insecticides and nets.

Skilled manpower; history of development with the establishment of the Chandpore fish research station and Jessore FSMS, skilled nursery operators, collection of pituitary glands.

Commercial atmosphere; attracted and retained educated people. Lowest


Figure 1: Districts surveyed in West Bengal

Map of India


West Bengal











* Districts Surveyed Jessore road

1cm = 20km


87?E 11


Figure 2: Study area showing hatchery, nursery, fish seed market and ECW locations


Figure 3: Sustainable livelihoods framework (source: DFID, 1999)

Figure 4: Mr Nilu Ghosh in front of a broodstock pond


Figure 5: Hatchery, Mogra, Chinese cisterns (foreground) and groundwater tanks (background) Hatchling production was evident in all Districts with the exception of Purulia, whilst in Midnapore production was limited. Overall, Chinese cistern hatchery technology generally dominated production systems throughout hatchling producing Districts, although in localised areas, earthen hapas (particularly in Bankura District) and some concrete upwelling cisterns were utilised for hatchling production (Figure 6). Hatcheries widely utilised groundwater from shallow and deep tube-wells, drawing groundwater from between 250 - 400 feet depths whilst in Bankura this was occasionally supplemented with river water. The use of pituitary glands for hormone preparation and injection of broodstock was widely practised however natural breeding procedures were preferred over artificial stripping and fertilisation of gametes in Bankura District.

Figure 6: Hatchery, Nabanagar, concrete up-welling cisterns incubating eggs



Hatchery Practices

A total of 30 hatcheries were visited throughout the hatchling producing Districts mentioned which have been grouped according to their spatial distribution as shown in appendix I and Figure 2. 7.1 Hatchery Facilities, Ongrowing and Sales

Table 3 provides a summary of hatchery and ongrowing facilities, breeding techniques, estimated fish mortality rates, production output, sale prices and the number of staff employed for 20 of the hatcheries investigated throughout 5 Districts. Shading allows differentiation between the 5 District regions with which the hatcheries are associated (Appendix I). Pond areas varied from less than one hectare to 26 hectares and pond numbers averaged 5-6 broodfish ponds and 8-9 nursery ponds per hatchery. The breeding season spans from March until September with variation between locations. Over half of the hatcheries visited practised only artificial stripping and fertilisation, one-quarter used both artificial and natural methods (broodstock spawn, and eggs incubated, in hapas) whilst in the Khatra, Simlapal and Raipur areas of Bankura District only natural breeding was observed in the hatcheries visited. In Ramsagar (Bankura District) however, fish were allowed to spawn naturally in hapas and fertilised eggs later removed for incubation in Chinese cisterns. Chinese cisterns (averaging 9 per hatchery) were most commonly used for egg incubation overall and in a few cases concrete upwell incubators were also observed. The number of hatchlings produced by hatcheries in one season ranged from 75 million to 750 million with hatchling quantities being measured volumetrically in cups (batis) measuring 100 - 135 ml which hold between 30, 000 and 75, 000 hatchlings depending on the species involved (Figure 7).


Figure 7: Bati used for measuring quantities of hatchlings Fourteen of the 20 hatcheries retained a proportion of hatchlings for nursing (approximately 20% of stock) which were primarily sold as fry and fingerlings although 4 also produced food- fish for sale. In the Ramsagar area of Bankura District (Figure 2)


nursing was limited due to limited pond resources as those available were primarily used for holding and spawning broodstock; seed were therefore primarily sold as hatchlings from this area, often through the local market to Calcutta and to other States. Hatcheries practising ongrowing ( able 3) used earthen ponds. Some hatcheries had T tank facilities which were used for holding hatchlings prior to stocking in ponds for ongrowing or sale (Table 3). Other hatcheries with no tanks or nursing ponds sold hatchlings directly from incubators. Average percentage mortality rates of hatchery stock ranged from 17% to 25% however in 2 individual cases values of up to 50% were noted and in another hatchery in Rajendrapur, up to 70%. In the latter case poor tubewell water quality was suspected by the hatchery owner as the cause whilst in the other two cases high temperature and disease were noted as potential reasons for hatchling mortality although later life stages were also affected. The highest percentage sales of fingerlings were evident in the hatcheries investigated in Hamidpur village of Kaliagarh and Salidah village of Kalyani (Figure 2) which, in contrast to the other hatcheries visited, only produced catfish (hybrid Clarias catfish was produced by both and also Pangasius sp. by the latter). Although these two hatcheries primarily sold fingerlings both operators noted difficulties in maintaining seed survival to fingerling stages, which they claimed was due to oxygen deficiencies in ponds which posed problems for supplying demand. The latter hatchery distributed fry and fingerlings to Andhra Pradesh. The former hatchery distributed fry by train to Ellore in Tamil Nadu and fingerlings locally by truck to Basirhat (Figure 19). Catfish fry were sold individually and their market price was increasing. Both producers formerly produced carps, indicated increasing competition and reducing profit margins with these species spurring their conversion to catfish production which had higher market value. The former hatchery owner additionally sold Clarias food- fish in Calcutta markets (Figure 8). Hatcheries were either privately owned or leased and in some cases numerous members of a family would be hatchery operators where the necessary knowledge and skills were obtained from outside relations and shared within the family. Fourteen of the twenty hatcheries investigated had nursery ponds however many of these were leased, with only a few having ownership. Nearly all the hatchery owners replace a proportion of their own broodstock every year from their own hatchlings whilst three used mature fish from other sources. The reasons provided for this were that broodstock production was either too expensive or too risky from threats of theft or floods from the River Hooghly. Mr Nilu Ghosh maintained a large broodstock population which he produced himself and renewed on a yearly basis. Broodstock not retained for further spawning were either sold to other hatchery owners or as food- fish. Sale prices for hatchlings ranged greatly from 40 rupees to 800 rupees per bati where the highest sale prices were available at the start of the season in March-April due to high demand. With the availability of fish seed increasing during the season, prices were lowest in June, the peak season for production. Of the 20 hatcheries in Table 3 the average price of hatchlings was 131-384 rupees per bati whilst sales prices of 280-560 Rs / kg for fry were given by one producer. Seven of the 20 hatcheries employed staff only on a temporary basis, only four had permanent employees and seven had both temporary and permanent staff. Hatcheries with large pond areas tended to have more permanent staff. On average hatcheries employed 8 to 9 permanent staff and 10 to 11 temporary staff. Hatcheries tended to be based on household labour although local villagers were often additionally employed.


Figure 8: Catfish auctioned in a market in the East Calcutta Wetlands 7.2 Broodstock Management

Appendix II provides data on broodstock ma nagement for the hatcheries investigated. All broodstock originated from parent fish within the farm for 2 hatcheries, however fresh broodstock were introduced to other hatcheries from off- farm sources. The frequency of replenishment varied amongst producers and in most cases end of season spawners were further used for breeding in consecutive years. Few operators exercised broodfish exchange with other producers. From the available data it cannot be concluded with confidence that broodstock management practices poses a significant threat to inbreeding. Broodstock were fed on various types and combinations of foodstuffs including mustard cake, rice bran, boiled rice, groundnut shell, pulses, batam cake, biscuits, wheat, fish meal, lobster meat (for catfish), poultry feed, manufactured fish feed, maize, dry fish and cow dung for pond fertilisation. Specific quantities fed to broodstock which were identified from five hatcheries varied and are shown in Table 4. Final maturation of broodstock was induced with extract from acetone-preserved pituitary glands in all hatcheries investigated with a single exception of where it was perceived that fish seed quality would be affected (Mr Nilu Ghosh). Typical dosages were obtained for 10 of the hatcheries visited as shown in Table 5. In some cases male fish received only one dose however in most cases both males and females received two doses. Dosage levels varied however the second dose was generally higher than the first. Although producers commonly weighed broodstock (Figure 9) for calculating suitable dosages for male and female fish accordingly, in a number of cases temperature and the period of the breeding season were taken into consideration, where higher dosages were administered at the start of the season and with lower temperatures.


Table 3: Facilities and practices in hatcheries investigated in West Bengal

Location No. of brood ponds 7 2 16 0 2 4 6 2 5 6 4 2 2 6 10 5 4 3 10 2 5.4 No. of nursery Ponds 16 5 (5L) 3 (1L) 8 20(16L) 5 (5L) 15 14(14L) 4 (6L) 28(23L) 24(18L) 26 1 1 8.2 (4.7) Total Pond Area (ha) N/A N/A 16.7 2.7 1.2 3.5 0.8 20 1.6 8.7 10.7 2.7 N/A N/A 26 4 2.7 4 8 15 8.0 No. of fish produced per season (million) 750 N/A 200 75 75 1 N/A 750 125 N/A 75 100 375 245 250 510 N/A 245 300 400 280 Hatchling sales (%) 95 100 90 70 90 98 85 80 70 80 87 93 75 99 95 98 98 98 80.0 Fry sales (%) 5 10 5 70 60 5 15 5 4 9.0 Finger -ling sales (%) 10 28 20 10 5 15 15 10 5 10 1 6.5 Foodfish sales (%) 5 15 5 5 1.5 Kept as broodstock (%) 5 5 5 5 2 2 5 5 5 5 3 2 5 1 2 2 2 3.0 No. of Chinese cisterns 10 12 13 9 7 12 4 16 8 7 4 9 15 9 14 9 12 2 6 6 9.2 No. of concrete upwells 31 15 2.3 No. of tanks Breeding strategies % Morts Hatch-ling sale price (Rs/bati) 100-300 N/A 100-150 70-400 100-300 280-560* 80-500 15-63 ** 50-400 250-600 400-800 150-250 100-450 100-600 N/A 250-600 200 60-200 50-200 40-200 131-384 Number of staff P T 35 2 10 10 20 11 20 9 20 10 20 8. 4 15 20 10 6 3 20 V 13 4 10 14 20 10 8 15 35 10 .2

Naihati Naihati Naihati Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kalyani Kalyani Kalyani Kalna Kalna Kalna Kalna Pandua Mogra Balagarh Ramsagar Ramsagar Ramsagar Mean

2 22 1 2 3 3 10 30 3.7

A, N. A A A, N. A A A A A, N. A, N. A A A A A, N. A A N N N -

10-15 70 5 40 30 30 30 10 N/A 20 5-10 5-50 10 5 10-50 5 5 5-20 20-30 25 5-50 ***

Key: P = Permanent employees; T = Temporary employees; A = Artificial fertilisation (stripping); N = Natural breeding in hapas; L = Leased; V = Varies N/A = Not Available; ***= Range, **= Paisas (100 paisas = 1 Rupee) per fingerling (catfish); * = Rs per kg of fry, (100 paisas = 1Rupee) (1 bati holds 35, 000 75, 000 hatchlings, variable with species).


Table 4: Broodstock feeding strategies in 5 hatcheries

Hatchery location Balagarh Kalyani Kaliagarh Ramsagar Ramsagar District Hooghly Nadia North-24Parganas Bankura Bankura Feed Type Mustard cake Mustard cake, batam Wheat Rice bran, mustard cake and batam Mustard cake, rice bran, poultry feed, fish feed and cow dung Feed Application (% bdy wt/day) 5% 4% 20% (10% X2/day) 1.5% Comments Clarias broodstock only -


Where observed in the hatcheries visited broodstock handling during transportation, injection and stripping was done cautiously and efficiently with the use of cotton bags or cloth during transportation and handling to minimise stress and damage to the fish (Figure 9, Figure 10 and Figure 11). Hatchery owners obtained pituitary glands preserved in acetone from markets in Calcutta and Naihati. Hormone dosages were prepared by grinding the glands with a mortar and pestle and diluting with water. Differences were noted in hormonal injection techniques where some operators injected into the muscle behind the right pectoral fin (Figure 10) and others preferred to inject into the muscle of the posterior flank. Table 5: Induced spawning hormone protocols used by hatcheries (n=10)
District North-24Parganas Area Naihati Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Balagarh Kalna Kalna Ramsagar Ramsagar Ramsagar F=Female, M=Male 1 st Dose (mg/kg) 4 1-1.5 2 (M) 12-14 (F) 2 (M) 2 1 1 1-1.5 1.5 10 (F) 2 (M) 2-4 2 nd Dose (ml/kg) 8 15-16 6-8 10-12 8-9 5-7 (1-2 - males) 6-8 Comments F of IMC and Grass carp F Bighead and Silver carp M only receives 1st dose Silver carp Administered to both M & F M receives 1st dose

Bankura Hooghly


Figure 9: Hatchery, Kalyani, weighing broodstock for pituitary hormone injection

Figure 10: Hatchery, Kalyani, hormonal injection of broodstock From Table 3, the practice of stripping gametes from broodstock ( igure 11) and F artificial fertilisation was most common overall. Dur ing peak season when Chinese cisterns were utilised at full capacity some hatcheries which had available pond facilities utilised them for natural fertilisation and incubation using hapas (nylon mesh cages) to maximise use of space and hatchling production. As mentioned, in Bankura (Figure 2) only natural fertilisation in earthen hapas was employed to enhance fish seed quality. In Simlapal, Bankura, Khatra and Raipur areas of Bankura (Figure 2) eggs were incubated in earthen hapas whilst in Ramsagar eggs were transferred from earthen hapas to Chinese cisterns for incubation and hatching. Both artificial and natural fertilisation techniques utilised pituitary extract inducement of ovulation. Pituitary

glands, preserved in acetone, were obtained from Calcutta, Kalna and Naihati. Between hatcheries, the intensity and duration of broodstock use and sex ratio used in breeding varied (Table 6). In any one breeding operation sex ratios ranged from 1:4 to 3:1 (male:female), whilst individual fish were spawned between one and four times per season with 2 spawns per season being most common. From hatchery owners estimates, most broodstock used for reproduction were over 2 years of age although fish as young as one year and over 4 years old were utilised. Broodstock size ranged from 100g for the small species Labeo bata, to 6 kg for large riverine carps ( able 6). Only one T operator (Mr Ghosh) claimed to completely replace his broodstock population annually, using his own hatchlings with the aim of maintaining offspring quality. Some supplemented the broodstock pool from neighbouring producers, whilst the vast majority re-used the same broodstock for consecutive years and supplemented the pool from their own production. Under these conditions, hatcheries estimated that broodstock were used for between 2 and 7 years.

Figure 11: Hatche ry, Kalyani, stripping eggs from female broodstock 7.3 Species Cultured Appendix III shows the percentages of species produced by 20 hatcheries visited. The number of species produced varied from 1 to 11 between hatcheries and averaged 56. The Mogra ha tchery ( Figure 5) had the widest variety and distributed to the largest number of States of India compared with the others. IMCs were the most predominant species cultured followed by Clarias sp., cultured by 5 hatcheries, followed by Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix) and Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). Eleven hatcheries visited cultured hybrids, including Pangasius x Clarias, Japanese puti (Puntius javanicus) x Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and IMC crosses. Of the latter, Catla (Catla catla) and rohu crosses (Labeo rohita), locally termed Nadia, were deemed to be of particular interest due to the higher market price achieved for this hybrid however high mortality levels during hatchling stages was noted by producers.


Table 6: Broodstock inventories for hatcheries in West Bengal

Hatchery location (town/ village) Broodfish use: # times yr-1 Breeding ratio (? : ? ) Brood Size (kg) Brood age (years) Broodstock Species rohu ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?659 ? ? ? ? ? mrigal catla ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?251 ? ? ? ? ? Silver carp ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?370 ? ? ? ? ? Bighe ad carp Grass carp ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?882 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?276 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?71 ? ? ? ? ? ? ?2927 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?1080 ? Jp ? ? ? L. bata Comm on carp L. calbas u Pangasius sp. ? ? Jp Claria s sp. ? Other Broodstock Biomass (M Tonnes) N/A 6 2 N/S 3 2 2 25 8 10 8-10 N/S 1-1.2 10 N/A 40 9 6 21 30

Naihati 3-4 5:4 N/S N/S Naihati 1 10:12 N/A 2 Naihati 2-3 2:1 0.75-2 4 Kaliagarh 1 2:1 N/A 3+ Kaliagarh 2 1:1 N/A 3+ Kaliagarh 1-2 1:4 N/A 3+ Kaliagarh 1-4 1:2 N/A 1-3+ Kalyani 2 1:2 0.2-5 N/A Kalyani 2 3:2 N/A 2-4 Kalyani 1-2 1:2 N/A 4+ Kalna 4 1:4 0.1-3 3+ Kalna 2 1:2 N/A 2.5-3 Kalna 1 1:2 0.7-6 N/A Kalna 2-3 1:2 2-2.5 N/A Mogra * 2-3 1:2 1+ 2+ Pandua 2 3:1 N/A 1.5-3 Balagarh 1-2 1:3 1-3 N/A Ramsagar 2 1:1 N/A 3 Ramsagar 2 1:1 N/A 2-3 Ramsagar 2 1:1 N/A 2+ n=20 (based on hatchery operators estimates)

? ? ? ?

? ?


?299 ?

? 447

Jp Jp 56 Jp

Key: Jp: Japanese puti, N/S: Non-specific, N/A: Not Available * Hatchery, Mogra: broodstock population for year 2000 given as number of fish per species.



Nursery Practices

A total of 25 independent nurseries were visited throughout the Districts of Nadia, Hooghly, Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Bardwan and North and South-24-Parganas which have been grouped according to their spatial distribution as shown in Appendix I and Figure 2. 8.1 Hatchling Origins

Table 7 shows the origins of hatchlings purchased by 21 of the nurseries investigated and the methods of transportation used. Hatchlings were purchased directly from private hatcheries and from fish seed markets. Nurseries visited around Naihati utilised Naihati Fish Seed Market, local hatcheries and hatcheries in Chakdaha (Figure 12) for hatchling supplies. Nurseries in Hooghly District obtained hatchlings from Pandua, Balagarh, Bankura District, Naihati and the hatchery in Mogra (Figure 12 and Figure 4). Naihati and Mogra were also suppliers of hatchlings to the nursery visited in the ECW. Nurseries in Kalna, Bardwan District, received hatchlings from hatcheries in the Kalna area and Naihati and only one nursery which was investigated, based in Chandannagar, Hooghly, on-grew wild hatchlings which came from the Lalgola River (Figure 12). In Midnapore District nursery operators obtained hatchlings from Simlapal, Ramsagar (Bankura District) and Debra (government hatchery within Midnapore) (Figure 12) which offered the nearest supplies of seed and also sold at a cheaper price than other producing Districts. In Purulia, where no hatcheries have deve loped, nursery operators also purchased hatchlings and fry from Simlapal which again was the nearest source of supplies. In some cases nursery operators co-operated in the purchase and transportation of hatchlings and fry from Simlapal to Purulia using tanks in trucks. Some nursery owners who were involved in distribution additionally acted as traders, supplying and selling hatchlings and fry at seed markets in Purulia for other nursery owners to purchase (Figure 12). 8.2 Nursing Facilities, Practices and Sales

Data from 16 of the nurseries visited is shown in Table 8. Nursing operations varied considerably in terms of size and management, such as the number and area of ponds utilised, number of crops per year and the quantities of fry and fingerlings produced. The number of ponds used for fry and fingerling production ranged from 2 to 16 with pond areas ranging from 0.4 hectares to 13.2 hectares between producers. The start of the nursing season varies between regions and is dependent on rainfall. For example in Purulia the season begins in June. Nursing businesses over-wintered between 2% and 30% of the previous season's stock, with 5% being most common, which are sold in the spring at the start of the season. Ponds were commonly prepared before hatchlings were stocked, by drying for 15 days, followed by the application of lime and mahua cake. Whilst visiting one nursery owner in the ECW, sacks of mahua cake were being prepared for application by soaking in the pond water which aided dispersion (Figure 13). Lime was added to ponds at approximately 225 kg ha-1 however one nursery in Naihati applied this at 75 kg ha-1. The quantity of mustard oil cake used varied between 2.4 MT ha-1 for nurseries in Bandel and Chandannagar to 5.4 MT ha-1 for a nursery in Chunchura, Hooghly (Figure 2), however 3 to 4 MT ha-1 was most common. Ponds would then be filled with water and stocked with hatchlings after a further 25 days.


Table 7: Hatchery and nursery fish seed distribution dynamics

Hatcheries Location Rajendrapur, Naihati, N-24Pgs. Rajendrapur, N24-Pgs. Fish Seed Destinations Local < 20Km radius. Hooghly, Bardwan, Stage H H Distribution Methods Bicycle, hundi Tank, truck. Actor T G Nursery Location Naihati, 24-Pgs. Naihati, 24-Pgs. NNHatchling / Fry Origins Saheb, Bora awalsedhi, Debak, Kalyani, Naihati Chakdaha, Chowmatha. Nurseries Methods Hundi in truck Hundi, bicycle. Acto rs D, G. D, T. Fingerling Destinatio ns Unknown Murshidaba d, Bardwan, Nadia. Local < 100Km. Method Tank, truck Tank, truck Act or D, G. D, G.

Barasat, Calcutta.


Tank, truck.

Chandannaga r, Hooghly.

Bankura, Naihati, Lagola River (wild). Bankura, Bolpur , Naihati. Balagarh, Naihati, Mogra. Naihati

Hundi, bicycle / autorick-shaw/ truck Hundi, bicycle Hundi, bicycle /autorick-shaw Hundi, bicycle.


Rajendrapur, 24-Pgs


Local < 20 Km Maldah, N & S -24-Pgs, Bardwan, Hooghly. Magrihat, Barasat

H,F,Fg H

Kaliagarh, N-24Pgs. Kaliagarh, N-24Pgs.

Hundi, bicycle train. Tank, truck Tank, truck.

T, G. Selfhired G

Chandannaga r, Hooghly. Bandel, Hooghly. Bandel, Hooghly. Bandel, Hooghly. Bandel, Hooghly.

T D, T.

Bihar Unknown

Hundi, Bicycle Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck

Ow n truc k D, G. D, G. D, G. D, G. D, G.


Tank, truck.

Hamidpur Kaliagarh, N-24Pgs.

Abal sidhi, Kankinarra, Sibdaspur, Sambalpur Ellore

H,F,Fg F

Hundi, bicycle Hundi, Train


Naihati, Balagarh Pandua, Mogra

Hundi, bicycle / train Tank, truck

D, T. or Self Self Hatc hery Own er Self D, T. D, T. Self T T


Unknown Unknown

Basirhat Salidah, N-24Pgs. Andhra Pradesh Local <30 Km Dariapur, Amdanga, N-24-Pgs. Nabanagar, N-24Pgs. N&S-24-Pgs, Midnapore, Nadia, Murshidabad, Hooghly Maldah (H), Midnapore, Howra, S-24-Pgs., Local < 20 Km

Fg F Fg H H, F, Fg H, F, Fg

Hundi, truck. Hundi, train Hundi, truck Tank, truck. Tank, truck. Tank, truck.


Pandua, Hooghly Chunchura, Hooghly. Kalna, Bardwan. Kalna, Bardwan. Kalna, Bardwan Kalna, Bardwan

Bankura, Mogra Balagarh, Naihati, Mogra. Naihati Naihati Kalna Kalna

O2 , bags, bus Hundi, bicycle / foot Hundi, bicycle /autorick-shaw Hundi, bicycle Hundi, bicycle Hundi, bicycle

Bandel, Naihati, Chunchura Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Murshidaba d

Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck Tank, truck Hundi, bicycle Tank, truck

D, G. D, G. D, G. D, G. T D, G.


Balagarh, Hooghly. Pandua, Hooghly.

Maldah, Midnapore Maldah, Murshidabad

H,F,Fg H

Hundi / tank, truck Bag, O2,, truck


Midnapore Jhargram, Midnapore. Jhargram, Midnapore

Ramsagar, Debra Ramsagar, Simlapal Ramsagar, Simlapal

Hundi, train Hundi, truck

Self Colle ctive -hire Self

Local Local

Howra, N&S-24-Pgs. Inc. Jaynagar & Calcutta,

Hundi / tank, truck

Hundi, bus


Hundi, rickshaw Hundi, bicycle / foot Hundi, bicycle


Mogra, Hooghly.

Other States *

Bag, O2, plane

Jhargram, Midnapore Pokalapara, Purulia Dimdiha, Purulia East Calcutta Wetlands H: Hatchlings F: Fry Fg: Fingerlings


Hundi, truck

Colle ctive -hire Colle ctive -hire Self


Hundi, bicycle truck Hundi, bicycle Hundi, bicycle Hundi, bicycle

Ow n labour er T / buy er Self

Local <25Km

Hundi, Own Truck.


Hundi, truck

Local villages, seed market Local villages Local (wetlands)

Kalna, Bardwan.

Maldah, Dinajpur.

Tank, truck.


Tank, truck

Tribeni, Naihati, Barasat Kalna, Bardwan. Kalna, Bardwan. Kalna, Bardwan. Kalyani, Nadia. Local < 60 Km Murshidabad, Midnapore, Birbhum. Maldah (H), Midnapore Nagaland, Howra, Hooghly, Krishnanagar, Sealdah, Joynapurr. Orissa, Bihar, Howra, Bardwan, Midnapore, N&S-24Pgs., Hooghly. Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar. West Bengal Districts except Darjeiling Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu Sealdah

H, F, Fg H, F, Fg H, F, Fg H, F, Fg H H, F, Fg

Tank, truck. Hundi, bicycle. Tank, truck. truck,

G T, G. Selfhired G T, G.

Naihati, Mogra

Tank, truck

T / buy er T

Tank, truck. Bag, O2, plane Hundi, bicycle, foot. Tank, truck. Bag, O2,, truck Tank, truck.

D: Dallals G: Golders T: Traders (Patil Wallahs) * : Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam, Punjab, Haryana

Ramsagar, Bankura.


Ramsagar, Bankura.

Bag, O2 , plane / train. Tank, truck. Bag, O2, plane.


G -

Ramsagar, Bankura.

Tank, truck.


Figure 12: Hatchling sources for nurseries investigated in West Bengal

Map of India


West Bengal

Lalgola River




Purulia Dimdiha



Kalna Balagarh Ramsagar Pandua Mogra Chunchura


Bandel Chakdaha Kalyani Naihati


23?N Key: Nurseries Hatchling sources


Chandannagar Midnapore

East Calcutta Wetlands



Fish Seed distribution Nurseries with seed supplies from hatcheries in own village Scale: 1cm =20km




During the drying stage some nurseries added substances to kill unwanted pathogens; one nursery in Bandel used kerosene oil, terramyacin, potassium permanganate and Metacid (Appendix V) for this purpose. Feeding strategies appeared to vary between nurseries in terms of the frequency and quantities applied which mainly included mustard oil cake. At one extreme one nursery owner in Bandel and another in Chunchura claimed to feed fish sporadically using no set quantities. Another nursery owner in Bandel and one in Naihati fed mustard oil cake and wheat flour at 37 kg ha -1 d-1 whilst in Chandannagar and Kalna mustard oil was applied at twice this quantity. Other nurseries in Bandel and Naihati used mustard oil cake and mustard cake at 75 kg ha -1 applied twice per week whilst another in Chandannagar applied 450 kg of mustard oil and wheat flour per hectare per week. Most businesses produced 5 crops per season however this ranged from between 1 and 10 crops overall with total outputs ranging from 400,000 by one producer in Kalna to 48 million by another in Chandannagar where the largest nursery operations appeared to be located (Table 8). During each production cycle ponds were seined at least 7 times to remove the fish, drained and then the cycle restarted. Fingerling sale prices, based on nursery owners estimates, showed variation between producers as did the profit margin from businesses which ranged from 20,000 rupees to 60,000 Rs yr -1 averaging around 34,000 to 42,000 Rs. Only 3 nursery owners had permanent staff of which 2 also had temporary staff, which was most common and averaged at 6-7 employees per nursery. The nursery visited in the ECW had only permanent staff and also the highest number; this however was not the preference of the nursery owners, who viewed this as a disadvantage, but due to the conditions of employment set by the government on fish farmers in the area which requires a minimum number of people to be employed per hectare of land on a permanent basis. The second highest number of permanent employees on any nursery was found in the Kalna area in a nursery, which had the fourth largest pond area of those visited and the highest return margin. 8.3 Species Cultured

Specific percentages of species cultured in nurseries for all the nurseries visited was not available however the proportion of species cultured in nurseries were approximately similar to that of the hatcheries visited with IMCs forming the main component of production followed by catfish and exotic carp species. Figure 13: Mahua cake soaking in pond water before application, ECW


Table 8: Inventory of nursery facilities and practices based on visits in West Bengal
District Nursery Location No. of Operators Visited 2 No. of Ponds TotalPon d Area (ha) % Mortality prior to stocking No. of Crops per Season % of stock Over-wintered Mean Fry / Fingerling Sale Price (Rs kg -1 ) Net return per Year (x 1000 Rs) Number Staff P N-24-Pgs. Naihati of

2 0.4 25-30 5 10 70 30-40 6 (1L) 14 1.6 20 N/A 5 150 35-40 6 Pandua 1 3 (L) 2.7 10 1 10 40 N/A 6 4 2 0.4 10-15 N/A 10-12 70 20-25 6 Bandel 4 (L) 0.4 15-20 5 5 N/A 20-25 6 Hooghly 3 (L) 0.4 10-15 N/A 5 160 25-30 5 6 2.7 N/A 10 5 30 N/A 10 Chandannagar 2 16 (L) 4.0 25-30 10 N/A 70 40-50 2 8 16 4.6 5-10 N/A 5 120 56 6 (8L) Chunchura 1 4 (L) 0.9 25 10-12 2 25 50-60 8 5 4 (L) 0.4 10-15 5 5 217 20-30 6 Bardwan Kalna 5 (L) 1.2 20-25 5 1-2 70 20-30 6 10 (L) 2.0 20 N/A 5 210 40-50 8 14 3.6 40 4 5 260 60-70 10 6 (6L) Midnapore Midnapore 1 20 (L) 13.2 10-50 6 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A S-24-Pgs. E.C.W 1 3 1.3 10 2 30 N/A N/A 24 Mean 7.9 2.5 16.9-22.3 5.8 7.5 114.6 34.7-42.2 2.4 6.2 (5.3) Key: E.C.W = East Calcutta Wetlands; L = Leased Ponds; P = Permanent employees; T = Temporary employees (Primarily used just for netting fish when required); N/A= Not Available. Net return i.e. income after variable costs. (Based on nursery operators estimates)



Fish Seed Marketing and Distribution

Fish seed (incorporating hatchlings, fry and fingerlings) travel through a variety of distribution pathways and methods in supplying on-growers, both locally within West Bengal and further afield throughout India. Direct delivery of fish seed from producer to ongrower was evident in addition to the involvement of various middlemen distributors and various markets from small-scale to large-scale within the network. The middlemen identified within this network, according to the local terminology were golders, golder employees, patil wallahs and dallals. Figure 14 illustrates the fish seed distribution pathways identified within the network showing the multitude of interdependent 'actor' relationships involved. 9.1 Fish Seed Distribution: Hatcheries and Nurseries

Figure 14 illustrates the distribution pathways of fish seed from hatcheries and nurseries within the network. Fish seed are distributed from hatcheries primarily as hatchlings and from nurseries as fry and fingerlings, where nurseries are either part of the hatchery business or operate independently. 9.1.1 Hatchery Seed Distribution Markets for fish seed exist both in West Bengal and in other States. Typically, hatchlings are transported by air to other States, either to nursery operators or directly to fish seed traders (patil wallahs). Smaller proportions tended to be kept for nursing in ponds. Hatchlings are measured in batis on site packed in plastic bags containing tubewell water injected with oxygen (Figure 15 and Figure 16) prior to sealing and placement in cardboard boxes for transportation by air via the nearest airport. The business shown in Figure 5 and Figure 15 is one of the first and most successful hatchery businesses in India which cultures 9 different species and distributes the majority of its 500 million hatchlings by air to other States within the country. Prior to despatch hatchling quality and fitness is assessed according to their mobility. This is done for each batch by swirling the water in the plastic bag containing the hatchlings and observing the movement of hatchlings against the current (Figure 17). To enhance hatchling survival during transport the fish seed quantities stocked in containers were adjusted accordingly depending on the duration of the journey whereby fewer hatchlings were stocked with increased transportation time. The hatchery in Figure 5 and Figure 15 stocked 40ml of hatchlings for journeys lasting up to 24 hours, 30ml for journeys up to 48 hours and 20ml for journeys up to 60 hours to improve survival. Few operators had their own transportation, such as the one mentioned above, enabling distribution of hatchlings directly to on- growers in either hundies, tanks or cardboard boxes in trucks (Figure 7 and Figure 18), however most hatcheries distributing 'locally' relied on patil wallahs and to a lesser extent, golders for this purpose (Table 7). Hatchlings taken to Naihati Fish Seed Market and independent nurseries were mostly transported by patil wallahs (Table 7 and Figure 14) however the ne eds of larger independent nurseries requiring larger quantities of hatchlings and fry such as those in the ECW were usually met by golders and dallals (Table 7). Patil wallahs commonly stocked 10 kg of 0.2g fry per hundi whilst golders tend to transport consignments of 500,000 (100 kg) of fry per 1460 litre tank (2-4 tanks per truck). Some golders such as the two based in Sealdah, Calcutta used hundies (50-60 per truck) for hatchling

transport of which each carried between 20,000 and 50,000 hatchlings. Table 7 shows the distribution of hatchlings from 20 hatcheries which have been grouped into Districts. Figure 19 and Figure 20 illustrates the geographical distribution of hatchlings from hatcheries. Hatchlings are distributed to a wide range of destinations (Figure 19). Maldah, far from the centre of fish seed production, is an important destination for hatchlings from hatcheries north of Calcutta. Midnapore, having few hatchery resources received hatchlings from five different Districts, including Bankura from where many hatchlings are distributed further east. Purulia was not specified by hatchery operators as a particular destination however, as detailed later, nursery operators in Purulia collect hatchlings and fry from Bankura seed markets (Table 7). Only one hatchery, located in Bardwan, was identified as supplying seed to Birbhum. Hatcheries in three areas apparently distributed hatchlings further afield to other States (Figure 20). The hatchery shown in Figure 5 distributed hatchlings to numerous States Table 7 and Figure 20). The hatchery in Nadia supplied hatchlings locally and to Nagaland by plane (Figure 20). Hatcheries in Ramsagar of Bankura District also tended to distribute a higher proportion of hatchlings to distant places (Figure 19 and Figure 20). Ramsagar Seed Market often functioned as a distribution centre where seed is packed in plastic bags with oxygen before despatch to distant places. Highest concentrations of nurseries were further east located close to hatcheries to enable a more convenient and timely supply. Few hatcheries undertook distribution of seed directly to distant places without middlemen, however one hatchery in Mogra with a formally trained (CICFRI in Barackpore) and experienced manager practised this with multiple species. 9.1.2 Nursery Hatchling Supplies The marketing channels used for transportation of hatchlings to these nursery ponds showed some variation with nursery location. Nursery operators in Hooghly and North24-Parganas Districts mostly used dallals for locating hatchlings and organisation of transportation by hundi on foot, rickshaw van, auto-rickshaw, train or truck. Five of these producers collected hatchlings themselves with one transporting seed in oxygenated plastic bags in cardboard boxes. In Kalna, only local patil wallahs using hundies and bicycles were involved in transporting seed from local hatcheries. Dallals based in hatchery areas and golders in markets of the ECW supplied hatchlings to local nurseries which receive large quantities. Dallals and golders involvement in hatchery to nursery and nursery to bheri fish seed distribution appeared to be particularly significant. It would therefore appear that the importance and value of the knowledge and information of, and the services provided by, these middlemen increases with distance between supplier and customer as problems in the form of communication, road traffic and official intervention tend to increase. Similarly, the scale of fish seed requirements of the ECW and longer travelling distances by road require large carrying capacities which these middlemen provide. In Midnapore and Purulia patil wallahs were occasionally involved in the distribution of fingerlings from nurseries to ongrowers. In Midnapore, nursery owners themselves transported hatchlings themselves in hundies by bus or train. Alternatively, a number of nursers hired a truck and shared transportation costs. This latter method was also used by nursery operators in Purulia. In some cases nursery owners also acted as middlemen supplying hatchlings to seed markets and other nursery owners within their own Districts.


Figure 14: The fish seed distribution network, channels to food / brood-fish production and actors involved


Figure 15: Hatchery, Mogra, packing hatchlings for air transport

Figure 16: Hatchery, Mogra, oxygenating water for hatchlings


Figure 17: Hatchery, Mogra, swirling water to assess hatchling fitness for transport

Figure 18: Hatchery, Mogra, oxygen packed hatchlings loaded onto hatchery truck


Figure 19: Local distribution of fish seed from hatcheries investigated, West Bengal

Map of India


West Bengal






Kalna Memari Balagarh



Kalyani Naihat i Kaliagarh


Town / Village Hatchling distribution (Colour distinguishes hatchling source)

Binpur Midnapore






Scale: 1cm = 20 Km

34 87?E 88?E

Figure 20: Distant distribution of fish seed from hatcheries investigated, West Bengal

Jammu and Kashmir

Himachal Pradesh


Nepal Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh Bhutan Assam Bihar Gujarat Madhya Pradesh West Bengal





Andhra Pradesh Karnataka

Hatchling Distribution Tamil Nadu Kerala Origins of Hatchlings Distributed from West Bengal: Sri Lanka 1. 2. 3. Mogra, Hooghly. Kalyani, Nadia. Ramsagar, Bankura.

Scale: 1cm = 150 Km


9.1.3 Nursery Fry and Fingerling Distribution Fry and fingerlings were distributed from nursery ponds primarily by golders to ongrowers both within West Bengal and its neighbouring States. Details of golders fry and fingerling transportation, including stocking densities based on 1460 litre tanks, were obtained from their estimates (Table 9). Table 9: Golders fry and fingerling transportation details Fish Stage Fish Weight Range (g) 4-6 8-10 16-25 No. of Fish Per Tank (x1000) 70-80 45-50 8-12.5 Fish Biomass Per Tank (kg) 320-420 400-450 200 Stocking Density (g L1 ) 220-290 270-310 140

Fry Fingerlings Fingerlings

(based on golder estimates)

On a consignment with 4 tanks, four labourers were commonly employed to manage tank water replenishment and aeration using hundies (Figure 21). As trucks were often unable to deliver seed directly to ponds, other individuals were employed on a daily basis when required for distribution from trucks to ponds, usually on foot using hundies as shown within the ECW in Figure 22. Golder-dallals were observed to have business relationships with a variety of dallals, in different fish seed production areas. In Naihati, many dallals were found to operate. Dallals were additionally found to be involved in securing broodstock transactions between producers as well as fish seed transactions. This appeared to be a significant business as some dallals solely depended on securing broodstock transactions for their income. Dallals therefore could be viewed as key facilitators in fish production and distribution (Figure 14). For their services, dallals would commonly receive 20% commission from both the producer and the purchaser although the figure varied depending on the development stage of the fish seed involved. By contacting various dallals by telephone, golders were able to obtain an apprecia tion of the availability and quality of fish seed within different areas within a shorter time than what would be possible by contacting numerous fish seed producers directly. Generally, being within a closer proximity to seed producers than golders, dallals were able to examine fish seed quality and provide a true account of the value of stock, which may not always be the case if liasing directly with the producer. In a few cases golders can be seen to act as dallals by contacting them although dallals themselves usually only perform an informant role. The distribution of fry and fingerlings from 21 of the nurseries investigated are shown in Table 7 and illustrated in Figure 23. From Table 7, 9 of the 21 nursery owners visited (North-24-Parganas, Hooghly and Bardwan) were unaware of the destinations of their fingerlings which were mostly sold through dallals and golders and few through patil wallahs. This indicated the dependency of these nursery owners on sales to larger middlemen whose custom was satisfactorily reliable enough. The few nursery owners in these Districts who knew their fingerling destinations distributed to Nadia, Hooghly, Murshidabad, Bardwan and North-24-Parganas Districts. In contrast, nursery owners in Midnapore and Purulia sold seed locally within their own Districts with no golders being used for distribution; only local patil wallahs using bicycles were used in cases where seed was not distributed by themselves, their own labourers or the purchasers themselves. Centralisation of seed

production therefore appeared to reduce opportunities for smaller, poorer, independent patil wallahs and benefit larger traders (golders and dallals). One exception however, would appear in the proximity of Naihati Seed Market where there is a larger concentration of patil wallahs that benefit from the short distances between producers and the market. The market effectively creates niche opportunities in areas of high production and complexity.

Figure 21: Wetland seed delivery, splashing with hundies to aerate tank water

Figure 22: Golders truck in ECW and golder employees distributing fingerlings



Naihat i Fish Seed Market

Rajendrapur, near Naihati, has the largest fish seed market in India, which receives inputs from around 1000 producers in West Bengal. The market operates with a secretary, manager and a number of licensed traders of which the number of the latter individuals, when established in 1976, was 300. The market has been growing since then and currently has 566 licensed traders however further expansion through issuing of trading licenses awaits government approval. Hatchlings comprise approximately 80% of the fish seed, and fry and fingerlings traded at the market approximately 20%, which originate from various areas within West Bengal. Hatchlings, fry and fingerlings are subsequently distributed to both local regions and other States by road or rail (golders and patil wallahs) although hatchlings are also distributed via air transport. The market is an important centre for the supply of common, and more specialised, fish species (Table 10) for producers locally and throughout India, and is an important source of business for a variety of seed distributors within and outside the market. Although records were not available at the time of interview the market secretary provided detailed estimates of the origins of fish seed, which pass through the market and the species, quantities, time of year and distribution methods, associated with the various destinations (Table 10). 9.2.1 Fish Seed Sources Thirty percent of fish seed in the market originate from Bardwan and Hooghly Districts from the areas where hatchery investigations were undertaken. Four areas in Nadia and North-24-Parganas Districts accounted for a further 30% of supplies whilst another seven areas accounted for 40% of supplies (Table 10). As shown in Figure 14, patil wallahs were more important than golders in the transportation of hatchlings to Naihati Fish Seed Market carrying them by hundi, either by foot, on train, bus or bicycle / rickshaw van. 9.2.2 Local Fish Seed Distribution The size and quantities of fish seed and time of year in which they are distributed varied with seasonal factors, the physical nature and scale of ongrowing in the receiving areas (e.g. pond resources, water availability and soil type). Local distribution within West Bengal which is undertaken primarily by golders (Figure 14), spans from April to July and includes fry and fingerlings (1-1.25g; Table 10). Patil wallahs were also involved in local distribution transferring smaller quantities of seed to nearby destinations as shown in Table 7, Figure 14 and Figure 24. Midnapore District receives half of the locally distributed seed supply, which is approximately 2 million seed (20 trucks per day). The lowest quantities (5% of the total) are each distributed to Maldah, Bardwan and Howra whilst 15% reaches Murshidabad 10% is distributed to North-24-Paraganas and other Districts north of Maldah 10% (Figure 25). The longest journeys apply to the latter area (1-2 days) where distribution is by truck and fish are contained in tanks as similar for other routes.


Figure 23: Local distribution of fry and fingerlings from nurseries investigated, West Bengal

Map of India


West Bengal




Purulia Dimdiha



Kalna Pandua Bandel



Key: Nurseries Local distribution within District Fish Seed distribution Nurseries with unknown fish seed destinations Scale: 1cm =20km 87?E 39

Chandannagar Jhargram Midnapore


Wetlands (local) East Calcutta Wetlands



Table 10: Origin and distribution of fish seed passing through Naihati Seed Market
Origin of Fish Seed Period % total Origin Destination No. / day (million) 2 Local Distribution Stage Species & Size (g) Sc, Gc, Cc, R, C, M, Lb, Jp. Method Destinations and Distribution Statistics % total Period % total 36.337.5 3.74.4 1.31.5 1.31.5 3.7 5.15.6 4.75.6 4.75.6 Duration (h) 5-6 hrs Destination Distant Distribution No. / Stage Species season & (million) Size (g) 30003720 Fry (0.4) Sc, Gc. Method Duration (days) 2

Bardwan Kalna Hooghly Pandua Mogra


Semurali M adanpur Chakdaha Bangaon

N-24Parganas (Basirhat) 30 15th April 18th July Murshidaba d Maldah


0.6 Fry / Fingerlings (1-1.25)

Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, R, C, M, Lb, Jp, Cl, P. N/A

Truck; hundies (4/day) Truck; hundies (6/day) Truck; hundies (2/day) Truck; hundies (2/day) Truck; hundies (2/day) Truck; hundies (4/day)



15th March 15th May

Midnapore (Midnapore, Hadia, Digha)

Truck; hundies (20/day)



Truck; tanks (4050/day) Truck; tanks (23/day) Plane; bag, O2 Plane; bag, O2



Fry (0.5)

Gc, Cc.






Bardwan (Durgapur)



15th May 15th October

Barasat Abal Seddhi Habra Ashoke magur Madbayangron Naihati Karkinara


Howra (Bagran)


Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, R, C, M, Lb, Jp, Cl, P. Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, R, C, M, Lb, Jp, Cl, P. Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, Jp.




H (0.025 ) H (0.025 ) H (0.02)

Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, R, C. Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, R, C. Sc, Gc, Bc, R, C, Cl. Sc, Gc, Bc, R, C. Sc, Gc, Bc, R, C. Sc, Gc, Bc, R, C.



Plane; bag, O2




Fry (0.6)

North Bengal


Sc, Gc, Bc, Cc, Jp, R, C, M.





Fry (0.6)

Cc: Common carp, Bc: Bighead carp, C: Catla, Gc: Grass carp, Jp: Japanese puti, Lb: Labeo bata, Cl: Clarias, M: Mrigal, P: Pangasius,

Madhya Pradesh


Fry (0.6)

Truck; tanks (46/day) Truck; tanks (35/day) Truck; tanks (35/day)



R: Rohu, Sc: Silver carp. (Based on Market Secretarys estimates)

Uttar Pradesh


Fry (0.5)




Fry (0.5)


Andhra Pradesh


Fry (0.5)

Cl, P.

Truck; tanks (710/day) Truck; tanks (710/day) Train; hundi







Naihati Seed Market is an important source of less common, specialised species with a variety of species being distributed to each District. Exotic carp species were sent to all receiving Districts whilst the two catfish species, Clarias sp. and Pangasius sp. were sent to, and on- grown, in Maldah, Bardwan and North-24-Parganas. Japanese puti and Labeo bata were only distributed within West Bengal being transported to most of the Districts shown in Table 10. No IMCs are sent to Howra which, according to the seed market manager, produces and satisfies its own demands for these species.

Figure 24: Patil Wallah at Naihati Fish Seed Market, on his deliveries 9.2.3 Distant Fish Seed Distribution Distant distribution (Table 10 and Figure 26) refers to the transportation of fish seed to other States of India. In this case the size of fish transported are smaller, being hatchlings and fry ranging from 0.02g to 0.5g. Assam, due to the occurrence of an early rainy season in comparison with other regions of India, is the receiver of the first outputs from the market. Some 50-62 million fry are taken by truck every day (45 trucks/day) from mid-March to mid-May, which accounts for approximately 37% of the distant distributed stock. As demand for this State slows down the distribution of hatchlings and fry to other States commences, lasting until mid-October; hatchlings are sent by plane in boxed bags containing oxygen saturated water and fry are transported in tanks by truck or by hundi on train as indicated in Table 10 and illustrated in Figure 14. Golders however distribute most of the fry and fingerlings from the market. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar receive the second largest quantities of stock (14% each). The other States receive less than 10% of the distributed stock by truck with Rajasthan and Punjab receiving the lowest proportion. Hatchlings are sent to Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana with most going to the latter which are also of smaller average size than the hatchlings distributed to other States. Distribution from market to destination by plane takes no longer than one and a half days whilst truck journeys take from 1 day to neighbouring Bihar and up to 4 days for Karnataka and Maharastra.


Figure 25: Local distribution of fry and fingerlings from Naihati Seed Market, West Bengal (AprJuly)

To Jalpaigur and Koch Bihar Map of India



West Bengal







Key: Naihati Seed Market Distribution % 5% 10% 15% Scale: 1cm = 20km 50% 43 87?E 88?E




Figure 26: Distant distribution of hatchlings from Naihati Seed Market in West Bengal (March-Oct)

Jammu and Kashmir

Himachal Pradesh



Nepal Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh Bihar Gujarat Madhya Pradesh West Bengal l

Bhutan Assam Nagaland



Key: Naihati Seed Market in West Bengal


Andhra Pradesh

(millions of hatchlings) 105-150 300-375 300-450


Tamil Nadu

375-570 750 Sri Lanka 1125-1500 3000-3720 Transportation Methods : Fry: Tanks, truck Hundies, train

Scale: 1cm = 150 Km


Hatchlings: 02 bags, plane


Of the IMCs mrigal were not distributed to other States through the market, in contrast to local distribution, however catla and rohu were received by 6 States, as were the exotic carps, Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix), Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis). The two catfish species were the only species sent to Andhra Pradesh whilst Haryana was the only other state taking Clarias sp.. Karnataka only received Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), whilst Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were the only other States receiving the latter species. 10 Case studies

10.1 Bankura Hormonal inducement of broodstock is widely practised in Bankura District followed by natural spawning. Egg incubation however, was split between two methods; Chinese cisterns are commonly used in Ramsagar whilst earthen hapa hatcheries (5 x 3 m) in shallow (0.3 m) ponds were common practice in Simlapal, Khatra and Raipur villages (Figure 2). Seed produced from natural fertilisation were preferred by many purchasers, viewing them as being of better quality. This view has been shared by some golders, patil wallahs, nursery operators and on-growers within the ECW, many of which have shown a preference for purchasing hatchlings from Bankura over other Districts. Producers themselves claimed that natural egg fertilisation and hatchling rearing in earthen hapas enhanced the quality and survivability of hatchlings; quality, rather than quantity, was their primary objective of production and sales strategy for competing with large production in other Districts such as North-24-Parganas and Hooghly. Producers in Bankura also indicated good husbandry to be additionally essential in maintaining good fish seed quality. One hatchery owner adjusted broodstock management according to the species; this included the maintenance of broodstock pond water conditions where Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix) were kept in rain- fed ponds and Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in less turbid tube-well fed ponds. Accommodating the needs of each species, differences between pond water quality could be seen (Figure 27). In the Ramsagar area (Figure 2) production lasts from April to September and there are approximately 150 producers using Chinese cisterns. The costs of establishing and operating these systems were more expensive than earthen hapa systems however they were claimed to involve less labour and be easier to operate. 99% of fish seed sales in this area are hatchlings, as few ponds were available in the area for fr y. Hatchlings are sold direct to farmers, patil wallahs and also golders through dallals however a fish seed market also exists in Ramsagar which operates early every morning. Many patil wallahs bring hatchlings to the market where they are temporarily kept in shallow earthen ponds (Figure 28) whilst being auctioned and later distributed, mostly to other Districts by patil wallahs in hundies using trains or buses and golders in hundies or tanks in trucks. For partic ularly long journeys hatchlings are packed in large plastic bags with oxygen. Hatchlings which remain in the market at the end of the day are often sold at a cheaper price. Overall during the season the average price of hatchlings falls from around 300 Rs / bati to 100 Rs / bati.


Figure 27: Broodstock pond water conditioning for exotic carps, hatchery, Ramsagar

Figure 28: Shallow earthen ponds in Ramsagar Fish Seed Market 10.2 Midnapore Hatche ries and fish breeding has been attempted in the past in this District however soil suitability was claimed to be a constraining factor. In particular, abnormal development of a large percentage of embryos was a common problem. The Midnapore Planning and Development Society and the West Bengal University of Animal and Fisheries Science are implementing a scheme to promote fisheries development in the District. In addition to hatchling supplies from outside the District, the Government hatchery, which incorporates the Chinese cistern system, supplies fish seed (mainly fry) in accordance

with the demands of the local farmers, at a subsidised rate. Within the fish farming promotional scheme the supply of fish seed is also supported by training and extension advice on fish culture to fish farmers by these bodies. Farmers in the District, which are within 125 Km of the hatchery, are supplied with oxygen packed hatchlings (50,000 in 10 litres of water) or fry (10,000 in 10 litres of water) from the Government hatchery. Some farmers living outside this distance collect fry in hundies (5000 in 20 litres of water) aerate the water through agitation or splashing and exchange water from ponds on route. Nursery owners in this District have to purchase hatchlings from the few hatcheries in the District or from those in surrounding Districts. One hatchery which practised natural breeding in earthen hapas was discovered in Binpur (Figure 2) where broodstock were injected with pituitary hormone and some 100 million hatchlings were produced. This was repeated three times during the short breeding season from June to July. Fry were grown in 4 nursery ponds however most of the hatchlings were sold to buyers from the locality and also distant areas as far as Tata, Jharkhand (Figure 1). Hatchlings travelling to distant places are transported in tanks on trucks, whilst fry are collected by both patil wallahs and golders. A second hatchery was present in Jhargram (Figure 2) however this business failed due to the soil quality constraints mentioned. Greater proportions of the fish seed on-grown in this District originate from other sources. Many are purchased from Simlapal and Ramsagar in Bankura District as mentioned whereby fish seed are transported primarily by hundi on bus or train however in some instances a truck will be hired where a number of farmers require to purchase, thus minimising transportation costs. A second outside source of fish seed is Naihati Seed Market, as mentioned; the importance of which is illustrated by the fact that the Midnapore District receives 50% of the local seed distribution from the market. Fry producers own between 3 and 20 ponds with an average area of 0.2 hectares and hatchlings are stocked at around 4,170,000 per hectare. Of the 3 nursery owners visited in Jhargram one purchased hatchlings from Ramsagar, one purchased from Simlapal and the other from both places and Debra (Figure 12) and transported using hundies by train or bus or in tanks by truck. One of these nursers also acted as a middleman supplying hatchlings to surrounding villages as well as growing fry whilst another employed a labourer to take orders for fry from surrounding villages and made deliveries by hundi on bicycle. After the nursing season some seed were kept by nursers for growing food- fish. 10.3 Purulia There are no hatcheries in Purulia and hatchling supplies come from outside of which most come from the neighbouring Bankura District. Seed trading operates from June to September and fry producers collect hatchlings from Simlapal and Ramsagar (Figure 12) by truck and often work together in this respect in order to share the costs of transportation. Approximately three million hatchlings are stocked in each tank and red soil, terramyacin and glucose are often added to the water to maintain fish health during the 4 - 5 hour journey; mortality during transportation is deemed to be insignificant. Producers were additionally recognised as collecting fry from Kalnakatua and Sotpur in Bardwan District whilst golders were identified as supplying fish seed from this area and also Naihati Seed Market which is an 8 -9 hour journey. 120 kg of fry is stocked in

tanks and splashing of the water during transportation aids the maintenance of oxygen levels. Most of the hatchlings collected by farmers are on-grown in ponds (prepared with mahua oil cake, lime and insecticide) to the fry stage and then sold to on- growers in neighbouring villages and seed markets. Some fry are kept for ongrowing to food- fish for personal consumption and sale. By keeping species separate through transport and production fry can be supplied to order and purchasers come and collect the fry themselves. Some fry are also sold through Purulia Market and patil wallahs using hundies and bicycles take orders from purchasers and transport them to neighbouring villages and further afield including Balarampur (Figure 2) changing water from ponds during the journey. Traders operating from Purulia are a significant source of seed in Bihar and Jharkhand. Five hundred such middlemen are thought to supply the villages of Purulia with fish seed. Purulia Market has a secretary and a supervisor and operates as a trade association with every trader being a member. Fish seed are mainly sold as fry at the market and July is the busiest month for trading with catla being in highest demand amongst the species traded which include other IMCs, Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix) and Common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Ten to twelve smaller markets also operate in villages where women are mostly involved in selling fry produced in local ponds. The government of West Bengal started a hatchery in Purulia District, but this is now derelict due to limited dry season water supplies. 10.4 Food-fish Production in the East Calcutta Wetlands 10.4.1 Nature of the System

This system covers some 3000 hectares and comprises of 154 fisheries (bheries) (Figure 29) which produce 13000 tonnes of food- fish per year, of mainly IMC and tilapia, which are sold in nearby Calcutta markets, representing 16% of fish sales in the municipality (Bunting et al., 2001). The environmental setting and system utilised for production in the East Calcutta Wetlands is quite unique; fisheries utilise some 550000m3 of untreated wastewater per day (Edwards & Pullin, 1990), of primarily faecal polluted surface water and sewage water from Calcutta, via canals and a series of tributary channels (Figure 30 and Figure 31). This wastewater nutrifies ponds, enhancing natural phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthic fish food sources, having economic benefits. Despite this input, inadequate wastewater supply has been identified as a limiting factor (Bunting et al., 2001) with 15% of bheri owners perceiving it as a problem (Kundu, 1994). Authority control over wastewater distribution to the wetlands, pumping station maintenance problems and sluice gate operation regulation problems result in unpredictable sewage supplies, (Bunting et al., 2001) which are compounded by the siltation of urban drainage systems and lead to competition between those exploiting the resource (Kundu, 1994).


Figure 29: Employees inspecting stock in bheri East Calcutta Wetlands

Figure 30: Primary environmental and livelihood inputs/outputs of bheries, ECW (Source: Jana, et al., 2000)


Figure 31: Channel feeding bheries with slick of black sewage, just discernible 10.4.2 Environmental Issues of Fish Culture

Possible adverse effects on fish consumers arise from faecal and sewage matter which enter the system, proliferating bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases (Hatha et al., 1998), with E. coli and Salmonella spp. being examples of potential hazards. Industrial effluent inputs are a threat to sustainability as frequent pollution of fish ponds with chromium, and potentially other heavy metals from tanneries discharging to the canal systems, cause heavy fish mortalities during floods with additional potential human health implications for fish consumers (Morrice et al., 1998). ATSDR (2000a) document chromium III and VI which originates from tannery effluent as being of insignificance in terms of bioaccumulation in fish, however Deb and Santra (1997) have shown bioaccumulation of metals, including chromium, in fish cultured in ponds receiving high proportions of industrial effluents. Further evidence of industrial influence appear in urban and suburban markets of Calcutta where the fish sold contain higher concentrations of heavy metals than similar products in rural markets (Biswas & Santra, 1998). Additionally, mercury bioaccumulation in wetland pond- fish, moreso sediment dwelling species, would suggest fish food-sources as an intermediate mechanism for uptake (Sadhukhan et al., 1996). The citys solid waste and refuse is dumped in the wetlands, some of which remains in large mounds prior to re-distribution (Figure 32) for utilisation as a horticultural soil conditioner (Roy, 2000). This poses risks to production and consumers, through leaching and contamination of wastewater with potentially harmful, toxic substances, whilst agr icultural chemicals (pesticide and herbicide) applied to surrounding cropland, may have similar pathways and effects.


Figure 32: Mound of accumulated waste beyond pond, East Calcutta Wetlands 10.4.3 Benefits of Aquaculture

In addition to food fish supplies the system sustains 17000 jobs and also contributes to rice cultivation through supplies of nutrient-rich waste pondwater (Figure 30). Environmental benefits occur through wastewater purification, which removes pathogenic bacteria, with reference to E.coli. concentrations being reduced from 10 X 10 cells ml-1 to 10-100 cells ml-1 (CMWSA, 1996). The system also dissipates large volumes of water reducing the risk of flooding in the city which in the past has paralysed life and economic activity, however urban encroachment is threatening this resource, which if continued will impoverish 200000 people through loss of livelihoods and flooding (Roy, 2000). On a smaller scale, a local fisherman was encountered during wetland visits who was identified as an indirect benefactor of production by catching escaped farmed fish from bheri wastewater feeder channels in the area (Figure 33). These fish, ranging from fingerling to occasionally food- fish size, were either consumed or sold in local markets and provided the fishermans only source of income. There appears to be a range of socio-economic and environmental considerations in this area, which potentially affect a number of sectors which therefore requires a sustainable environmental management strategy. 10.4.4 Fish Seed Supply Few independent nursery operations are present in the wetlands which supply the bheries as many bheries have their own nursery ponds for rearing hatchlings and fry to fingerlings for stocking in bheries. The independent nurseries present therefore primarily serve bheries lacking nursery ponds. Hatchlings, fry and fingerlings are therefore distributed to the wetlands to facilitate the needs of the producers. The system utilises large quantities of seed to support the scale of food- fish production, which are primarily supplied by golders (Figure 14).


Figure 33: Peri-urban dweller catching escaped fish from behri outflows Most of the supply, which includes all life stages, comes from hatcheries and nurseries in Districts to the north of Calcutta (Figure 2) through golders based in the wetland village markets, Chowbaga, Chingrihata and Bantala who liase with dallals within production areas. Additional supplies of hatchlings were identified to come from Bankura District hatcheries through two golders based in Sealdah in Calcutta (Figure 34). Using hundies in trucks and operating on a daily basis from April to July these golders supply an estimated 240 million hatchlings to the wetlands. Local patil wallahs make an additional small contribution to wetland seed supplies. One patil wallah who was interviewed in the wetlands collected fish seed from Naihati Seed Market and by using the train and bicycle delivered fingerlings to Bamamghata Market in the wetlands. This particular market was chosen by the patil wallah as the absence of golders reduced competition, whilst being a fish market where producers sold food- fish, offered opportunity for marketing and selling seed. Splashing was frequently done to aerate the water prior to sale (Figure 35) whilst the placement of fish in a hapa in a nearby pond aided survival in the event of a delayed sale.


Figure 34: Golders in Sealdah with hatchlings destined for the wetlands

Figure 35: Patil Wallah splashing to aerate hundi water



Fish Seed Quality and Supply

Fish seed quality and availability are important factors of consideration for successful ongrowing, however quantification of this is dependent on its identification and interpretation by the fish seed producers, middlemen and on-growers involved. Table 11 summarises the results from investigations undertaken. Table 11: Producers and middlemen's indicators of fish seed quality
Respond ent Details Actors in the Fish seed Network Hatchery Owners / Managers 20 6 Nursery Owners / Managers 15 14 1 Bheri Owners / Managers 9 3 2 2 Golders Totals

No. of Respondents Movement Movement & Mucus Movement & Colour 7 Movement, Colour & Shape Colour 5 Behaviour Behaviour, Colour & Strength Unsure 2 Total Number of Factors / Responses

10 6

Fish Seed Quality Indicators

1 1 1 1 1 1 54

54 29 2 10 1 6 1 1 4

From Table 11 it is evident firstly that a large percentage of individuals involved in production and distribution have methods of assessing fish seed quality. These methods comprised of the visual appearance of the fish and their behaviour, whereby movement of the fish was the most significant component in this process. The second most common method of assessment of fish seed quality involved inspection of both colour and movement. Few producers and golders were unable to assess the quality of fish seed whilst one nursery owner claimed dependence on middlemen (dallals, golders and patil wallahs) ability to assess seed quality to ensure satisfactory supplies. Patil wallah and golder employees indicators of fish seed quality, which were movement and movement and mucus respectively, are not included in the table due to insufficient sample numbers. In identifying some of the factors which affect fish seed quality, Table 12 further illustrates what the respondents perceive are the relevant factors. On some occasions interviewees noted a number of factors which have been totalled accordingly for a general analysis of the significance of each factor within the system.


Table 12: Respondents perceptions of influential factors over fish seed quality
Respond ent Details Actors in the Fish seed Network Hatchery Owners / Managers 20 5 5 5 1 1 1 3 ** 1 2 1 1 3 *** 1 2 50 Nursery Owners / Managers 15 1 2* 1 13 Golders Totals

No. of Respondents High Temperature Disease Poor Water Quality Oxygen Deficiency Overfeeding Poor Broodstock Management High Stocking Densities Water Availability (transportation) Transportation Delays / Duration No factors Unsure Total Number of Factors / Responses

Factors Identified As Affecting Fish Seed Quality

10 1

45 7 7 6 13 1 1 1 3 5 3 3

*: In addition to disease, lack of knowledge of suitable therapeutants and treatment costs mentioned **: Cost of water and availability during transportation ***: Traffic congestion; this creates water exchange difficulties and affects fish seed survival

From Table 12, 50 responses were obtained from 45 interviews which have been categorised into 9 different factors. Of the 9 different factors affecting seed quality, oxygen deficiency in pond systems was given as a significant constraint from most of the nursery owners followed by high temperatures, which had most severe effects on hatchling survival. Disease was also a concern amongst producers, which reduced fish seed quality, which was intensified in s ome cases by limited ability to resolve the problem. Amongst distributors, the limited access to fresh water during transportation for the exchange of tank and hundi water was identified as another factor affecting fish seed survival amongst one-third of golders, the problem of which was also linked to a certain degree to journey delays from traffic congestion. Patil wallah and golder employees claimed high temperatures were affective of seed quality during transportation whilst the latter additionally noted overfeeding and poor water availability during transportation as constraints. This data was not included in the table due to insufficient sample numbers. Few respondents revealed no constraints on fish seed quality whilst others were unsure as to the attributable causes. Different actors involved in different stages of the network identified different factors most affecting seed quality.


Table 13 gives an indication of the status of fish seed quality and availability within the system. Table 13: Satisfaction in fish seed quality and availability amongst actors
Actor No. of Respondents Satisfaction Fish seed availability Hatchery Owners / Managers 20 Yes (%) No (%) Yes (%) Nursery Owners / Managers 15 No (%) Yes (%) Bheri Owners / Managaers 9 No (%) Yes (%) Golders and Golder-Dallals 10 No (%)







Fish seed quality









Data in Table 13 is presented as percentages of respondents who were satisfied and dissatisfied with fish seed quality and availability. The degree of dissatisfaction amongst respondents however varied from minor complaints to more significant levels which affected production. Overall fish seed availability was satisfactory amongst respondents however in the wetlands one-third of bheri managers / owners expressed some degree of dissatisfaction with the availability of fish seed throughout the year. More widespread dissatisfaction with fish seed quality amongst respondents was evident with a high percentage of bheri managers / owners who purchased seed. Additionally, 40% of hatchery managers / owners were not satisfied with the quality of the hatchlings they produced, whilst a few (13%) nursery owners / managers noted disappointment with the quality of hatchlings they purchased for ongrowing. The majority of golders were satisfied with the quality of fish seed that they purchased although twenty-five percent expressed a degree of dissatisfaction. The patil wallahs, dallals and golder employees who were interviewed, were more positive, expressing satisfaction with fish seed availability and quality. 12 Constraints to Fish Seed Production and Distribution

12.1 Hatcheries Within hatchery systems present broodstock management practices may be acting negatively on production efficiency. The sex ratios used in breeding by over half of the 20 hatcheries in Table 6 fell outside of Tripathi & Khan (1990)s recommendations of 2:1 or 1:1 (male:female), whilst two hatcheries noted using broodstock more than the Tripathi & Khan (1990) recommended 1-3 times per season. Half of the hatcheries in Table 6 used more than one female per male fish which can reduce genetic variability in offspring and increase the risk of inbreeding and poorer stock survival in hatcheries, particularly where offspring are further used for producing future generations within the farm of their origin. The evident use of the same broodstock for many years and

supplementing stocks with parent offspring is common in India, where; the use of broodstock over 5kg reduces fish fecundity and gamete viability (Ranadhir et al., 1990), increases the risk of inbreeding with consequential reduced fitness and survival of offspring and suitability for future reproduction (Tripathi & Khan, 1990). Additional problematic technical issues were identified in many hatcheries pertaining to water resources. Technical failures and high electricity costs associated with water pumping restricted water availability and was a significant production constraint for 35% of hatcheries utilising groundwater (Table 14 and Table 15). Similar electricity cost constraints have been described by Singh et al. (1990) to significantly affect hatchery operations in Bihar, India, from which the Department of Fishery Science, Andhra Pradesh, recommended subsidised electricity rates for fish farmers on a par with those for agriculture back in 1990. In terms of water quality tube-well water was informed as being of low hardness, low oxygen content and pH in the range of 6.5 to 8. However high levels of iron, as found in Bangladesh (Lewis et al., 1996),bases and unknown factors in tube-well water were associated with hatchling mortality in four different areas (Table 15 and Figure 2). Tube-well water contamination with arsenic is a human health concern in 6 Districts of West Bengal (Das et al., 1996), in areas where hatcheries were based, with reports of levels in Bardwan (Figure 2) being as high as 135.9 um g/L (Nag et al., 1996), well above internationally set maximum safe levels of 10-50 um g/L (Nikson et al., 2000). In water, arsenic is usually present as arsenate or arsenite (Jonnalagadda et al., 1993) whereby the latter type is one of the most toxic forms in the environment (Jokai, 1998) and comprises of 50% of the groundwater arsenic in West Bengal (Chatterjee et al., 1995). Further, high arsenic levels are found to be associated with iron pyrites (Das et al., 1996) as found in hatcheries. Biological reduction processes can additionally convert arsenic- iron compounds to arsenite (Meng et al., 2001) as Shiomi et al. (1996) shows the capability of Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) to uptake arsenic compounds, convert, and retain them as arsenite within the flesh and viscera. In consideration of iron observations by hatchery managers, its affiliation with arsenic and additional conversion to a toxic form that is already present in the water, this may be a cause of high hatchling mortalities. Intensive groundwater abstraction in West Bengal has been proposed as triggering the arsenic pollution problem through inducement of groundwater flow and mobilising fertiliser phosphates which aid arsenic release (Acharyya et al., 2000). In Bangladesh, similar abstraction has induced aquifer recharge with polluted Buriganga River water (Ahmed et al., 1998) which may also apply to West Bengal with respect to the Hooghly River (Figure 2). Another environmental constraint to hatchery production was high water temperatures, which increased mortality levels significantly in 65% of hatcheries sampled. A significant environmental impact on 60% of hatcheries in 8 regions (Table 15 and Figure 2) was flooding from the nearby Hooghly River causing predator entry and loss of valuable broodstock and fingerlings from ponds, and occasionally, hatchlings from cisterns. Lastly, one particular problem to one hatchery owner in Kalyani, (Figure 2) who also produced fingerlings was the proliferation of green coloured snails in ponds (Figure 36), which through consumption of fish food, severely affected business economics. This was identified from the hard disc covering the aperture, as belonging to one the families of the operculates (IDNR, 2001).


Figure 36: Snails, which consume fish food in nursery ponds 12.2 Nurseries With regards to fingerling production, the feeding strategies employed in Bandel and Chunchura (Figure 2) appeared to be influential over fish seed quality as supported by various actors in the network. Mustard cake was commonly used as expected, however irregular and perhaps sub-optimal feed application were identified as the potential problems. Subsequent, chronic, parasitic and dermal lesion type diseases (Appendix IV) were evident whilst the intensive use of therapeutants including endosulfan (Appendix V) was recognised which may have aggravated the situation. In addition to hatcheries, water resources were additionally restricting for nurseries being dependant on rainfall which limited production outside the rainy season (Table 15) whilst in the opposite flooding from rainwater caused problems for nurseries in Banned (Table 16). 12.3 Marketing and Distribution Marketing of fish seed was occasionally described as a problem by hatchery operators, particularly in Bankura District, however this was the main constraint to nursery businesses througho ut the Districts.


Table 14: Overview of asset status of network actors

Asset Type Actor No. of respondents Asset Relevant training Government assistance Available labour Member of association Customer base stability Offering information & technical support *** Loan availability Credit availability Credit giving ability Good water availability Water quality satisfactory Nutrient supply satisfactory Affordable transport Affordable energy Accessible materials Fish seed available Fish seed supply quality satisfactory Broodstock available Broodstock supply quality satisfactory Own nursery ponds Other additional assets Ability to invest Low season income Product/service price Bheri Owners / Managers 10 % Yes % No 22.2 77.8 55.5 44.5 100 0 55.5 44.5 55.5 44.5 66.6 33.4 44.5 77.8 55.5 0 10.5 10.5 N/A 25 100 66.7 22.2 N/A N/A 55.5 22.2 44.5 100 89.5 89.5 N/A 75 0 33.3 77.8 N/A N/A Nursery Owners / Managers 20 % Yes % No 7 93 7 93 100 0 0L/D 20L/D 13 87 27 73 7 27 0 7L/D 7L/D 7L/D 20 L/D 7 L/D 27 100 87 N/A N/A 93 73 100 13L/D 13L/D 13L/D 0L/D 13L/D 73 0 13 N/A N/A Hatchery Owners / Managers 20 % Yes % No 25 75 15 85 80 20 5 95 65 35 65 35 70 35 65 65 55 75 10 75 90 N/A 60 90 75 30 65 35 35 45 25 90 25 10 N/A 40 10 25 Golders and Golder-Dallals 10 % Yes % No 0 100 0 100 100 0 0 100 75 25 75 25 0 75 50 91.7 100 N/A 100** N/A 100 100 75 N/A N/A 100 25 50 8.3 0 N/A 0 N/A 0 0 25 N/A N/A Patil wallahs 1 (LD) # No 1 1 N/A 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0 0 0 N/A N/A Dallals 2 (LD) # No 2 2 N/A 2 0 2 N/A N/A 2 N/A N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0 0 N/A N/A Golder employees 2 (LD) # No 2 2 N/A 2 1 2 N/A N/A N/A 0 0 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0 1 N/A N/A


# Yes 0 0 N/A 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 N/A 1 N/A 1 1 1 N/A N/A

# Yes 0 0 N/A 0 2 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A 2 N/A N/A 2 2 N/A N/A

# Yes 0 0 N/A 0 1 0 N/A N/A N/A 2 2 N/A 2 N/A N/A 2 1 N/A N/A


Natural ****

Hum an


77.7 22.3 55.5 44.5 55.5 44.5 66.7 * 33.3 * Rs 18-50 / kg (Food-fish)

40 60 100 0 13 L/D 7 L/D 100 * 0* Rs 26-50 / kg (Fingerlings)

50 50 70 30 80 20 100 * 0* Rs 40-800 / bati (Hatchlings)

22.2 77.8 83.3 16.7 50 50 50 50 100-200 / truck (Fingerlings:400 kg / truck

0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 Rs 15-40 / kg (Fingerlings)

0 2 2 0 0 2 1 1 Rs 0.5 1 / kg (20% comm.golder &supplier

0 2 0 2 0 2 0 2 Rs 80-100 / Day

(From respondents estimates) Key: * = Applies to fish production system employees, ** = Some trucks owned and some hired, *** = An asset for information suppliers and receivers, **** = Wetland nursery data combined with bheri data, N/A = Not Applicable, L/D = Limited data, 1 Bati = 30,000 75,000 hatchlings.


Table 15: Seasonal factors affecting production and distribution

Category Issue Business Type / Actors Hatcheries Nurseries Wetland Ponds Golders Hatcheries Limited Water Supply Locations Affected Balagarh, Kaliagarh, Salidah. Bandel and Wetlands None Chingrihata Bishnipur, Kalna, Rajendrapur, Kaliagarh, Charkanchrapara, Pandua. Bandel, wetlands Wetlands Kalna, Bishnipur, Rajendrapur, Kaliagarh. Bandel, Wetlands Wetlands Source / Cause Demand better wages and have other work N/A N/A Other commitments Electricity failure / costs, Pump failure Dry weather Sluice gate control Tube-well water: high levels of Iron, bases and unknown Unspecified Limited sewage supply / pollution Summer Summer Summer Summer Summer Winter Winter Months of Occurrence Continuous & Sporadic N/A N/A Sporadic March June Effect Less production. Slight to fair impact. Not an Issue Not an issue Has to get poorer quality labour Increases fish stress and mortality and reduced production output. Reduced production. Slight to Moderate Impact Reduces nutrient supply and production. Hatchlings die. % Businesses Affected 20 Low sample number 0 8.3 35


Poor Labour Availability

Nurseries Wetland Ponds Hatcheries

Aril - June Rainy Season Continuous

Low sample number 100 45

Poor Water Quality Natural

Nurseries Wetland Ponds

March & Oct-Jan March & Oct-Nov

High Temperature

Hatcheries Nurseries Wetland ponds Golders Patil wallahs Hatcheries Nurseries

All locations Bandel, Wetlands Wetlands Sealdah, Chingrihata Bamamghata All locations Bandel, Wetlands

May-June May-June May-June May-June May-June Sept-Feb Nov-Feb

Affects fish health. Moderate impact. Chemicals, smell in water and fewer nutrients, reduce production. Hatchlings die Fish die. Moderate impact Increased evaporation, disease and mortality Hatchlings die Have to transport less fingerlings. More disease. More disease. Moderate impact.

Low sample number 90

65 Low sample No. 50 33 Low sample number 60 Low sample number

Low Temperature


Wetland Ponds Hatcheries Fish Disease Nurseries Wetland Ponds Hatcheries Lack of Finances Financial

Wetlands All locations except Salidah Bandel, Wetlands Wetlands Rajendrapur, Kaliagarh, Kalna, Bishnipur, Nabanagar, Pandua. Bandel, Wetlands Wetlands Sealdah, Naihati & wetland markets Bamamghata Tribeni Hatgachhia (near wetlands) and Chowbaga.

Winter Various diseases Low temperature Poor water quality Floods, competition

Nov-Feb Nov-Feb July-Sept Nov-Feb July-Feb Sporadic

Disease and reduced growth. Hatchlings, fingerlings & broodstock mortality increases. Increased mortality. Slight Severe impact. Higher mortality Require loans

30 85 Low sample number 90 50

Nurseries Wetland Ponds Golders Patil wallahs Dallals Golder employees

Disease, labour cost Costs Competition & less profit in low season Competition Less work available in winter No work available in winter

Sporadic Continuous Winter Sporadic Nov-Feb Nov-Feb

Less profit. Fair impact Require loans. Fair impact Less profit Less profit Less profit No income

Low sample number 50 50 Low sample number Low sample number Low sample number

(From respondents estimates)


Table 16: 'Shock' vulnerability factors affecting production

Shock Category Shock Type Business Type Hatcheries Locations Affected Mogra, Pandua, Balagarh, Kalna, Kaliagarh, Nabanagar, Salidah, Kalyani. Bandel Wetlands Source /Cause River Hooghly Effect Loss of broodstock / fingerlings from ponds. Predator fish enter ponds. Fair to severe impact. Increased risk of fish stock escape. Fair impact. Affects water quality. Predator fish enter ponds and higher risk of fish stock escaping. Fair to heavy impact. Reduced quality and increased mortality of one, or a combination of hatchlings, fingerlings and broodstock. Slight to severe impact. Reduced quality and increased mortality of one or both of hatchling and fingerling stock. Slight to heavy impact. Reduced quality and increased mortality of one, or a combination of hatchlings and fingerlings. Slight to severe impact. Affects electricity supply. Slight to moderate impact. Some structural damage. Fair impact. Damage to pond security stations and wave erosion of pond embankments. Slight to fair impact. % of Businesses Affected 60

Flooding Nurseries Wetland Ponds Hatcheries Fish Disease Natural Nurseries

Rainwater Run-off from Calcutta city Associated with temperature Temperature and water quality Temperature and water quality Adverse weather conditions Adverse weather conditions Pre-rainy season weather Local population

Low sample numb er 40

All locations except Salidah and Amlapukur in Kalna Bandel and Wetlands


Low sample number 90

Wetland Ponds Hatcheries Storms Nurseries Wetland Ponds Hatcheries Theft Social Nurseries Wetland Ponds


Kalna, Kalyani, Pandua, Salidah Nabanagar, Kaliagarh, Rajepur. Wetlands Wetlands All locations except Jaipur and Amlapukur in Kalna Bandel and Wetlands Wetlands


Low sample number 30

Broodstock loss, reduced production, increased 85 security costs and financial loss. Reluctance to keep broodstock. Slight to heavy impact. Loss of fingerlings. Financial loss. Moderate to heavy impact. Increased security costs. Risk to employee safety and financial loss. Heavy to severe impact. Low sample number 80

Local population Unemployment and market fraud


Fish Poisoning /Sabotage

Hatcheries Nurseries

Bishnipur, Kalyani, Rajendrapur, Motukpur, Kalna, Kaliagarh. Bandel Wetlands

Competitors and unknown. Competitors No issue

Wetland Ponds (From respondents estimates)

Reduced production and increased financial loss. Slight to severe impact. Reduced production and increased financial loss. Moderate impact. Not detected.

45 Low sample number 0


Water availability and quality was generally adequate for those involved in distribution, with ponds and hotel water resources proving sufficient and a charge being placed for the latter. High temperatures were however identified by patil wallahs and golders as affecting fish seed survival during transportation where in some cases cloth was placed over the hundies or tanks to reduce temperature escalation. Both patil wallahs and golders claimed competition in fish seed distribution was high with difficulties for new entrants with less knowledge and experience in the profession to prosper. However, for golders the most significant hindering social / institutional problem was the frequent necessity to bribe police of the order 50-200 rupees per truck when encountered during fish seed transportation, for passage and permission to use the road network. This would appear to be a significant constraint as many golders claimed to make a profit of only 500 to 600 rupees per truck. 12.4 Food-fish Production in the East Calcutta Wetlands Technical problems to food- fish production were particularly evident in the wetlands, again due to costs associated with pumping nutrified wastewater from feeder channels to bheries. This had become a more significant constraint over the years due to the lower nutrient quality of the wastewater from the removal of the cattle sheds from the city and the increasing siltation of wetland feeder channels (Table 15). In few cases however excess nutrient input to pond systems was noted from producers located nearby the main wastewater canals which appeared to be associated with flood events. Flooding, which is caused by city run-off through canals, affected 40% of bheries visited (Table 16) and also was responsible for the flushing of industrial pollutants from wastewater canals occasionally causing fish kills. These chemicals in the water could encompass industrial and household effluent, road run-off, sewage discharge and agricultural chemical or toxic refuse leachate. 'Foul smelling' gas in the ponds was occasionally noted by producers as affecting the survival of fingerlings which appeared to be associated with sulphurous and methane products of anaerobic decomposition (Table 15). High temperatures caused a problem to half of the bheries visited through evaporation and disease (Table 15). Fish seed availability was a slight problem in the wetlands however the quality of seed was of particular concern to bheri operators whilst limited access to loans and credit (Table 14) and marketing system deficiencies were identified. 12.5 General Constraints which were identified to be more general and encompassing in nature included the high percentage of producers and distributors who lacked relevant formal training which could facilitate their business with additional widespread limited access to government or institutional support also being noted (Table 14). These constraining factors were recognised by the Department of Fisheries, Andhra Pradesh and recommendations for subsidies made upon. The exception to this observation however would appear to be the case in Midnapore where the presence of a government hatchery supplying fish seed at subsidised rates and the availability of Government training and support was available. Disease was a significant problem to the majority of producers (Table 15 and Table 16) affecting all development stages as shown in (Appendix IV). The majority of diseases

occurred during winter from low temperature, although in some cases disease problems occurred throughout the year where parasitic, protozoan, bacterial and fungal pathogens were indicated as the most likely causes. The copepod parasite, Argulus sp., affected most businesses with a variety of possible bacterial and fungal species being second and affecting a greater range of production systems. Dermal lesions, necrotic flesh, abdominal distension and external haemorrhaging were clinical signs associated with most development stages (Appendix IV). In the prevention and treatment of diseases and in pond preparation procedures potential human and environmental threats were recognised from some of the therapeutants and chemicals chosen for use. Appendix V describes the range of substances utilised, their intended use, their reason for use in aquaculture, the active ingredients identified and their nature and potential adverse effects in the environment to ecology and humans. Of the 25 substances identified in use (discounting vitamin supplements) 6 were unidentified, 12 posed a potential health threat to humans of which 7 posed an additional threat to the environment, whilst 4 had no apparent adverse effects. Of the 12 potentially harmful chemicals identified it is clear that of the multitude used for the same purpose some are potentially more harmful than others; insecticides, kerosene oil, endosulfan and the organophosphates methyl parathion (Metacid) and Malathion (Thion) were substances utilised in anti-parasitic treatments of fish and in pond preparation which can have effects of long persistence in the environment, bioaccumulation and neurological, immunological and birth defects in animals, to mention some. In comparison no adverse effects were identified for chlorpyrifos, also used as an insecticide, whilst one pond owner described his use of an effective natural pesticide, Neem tree. These documented potential effects are however dependent upon concentrations applied, natural conditions, the species at risk and the duration and form of exposure to the substances, which should be considered in data interpretation. No data is presented for biological components of fish farm effluent, however adverse effects were not obvious during inspections. 13 Livelihood Issues of Fish Seed Production and Distribution

13.1 'Actors' Livelihood Asset Status Table 14 shows the livelihood asset status of 'actors' identified in the network. With regards to human capital, as mentioned, the percentage of respondents with relevant training and access to institutional support were low. Access to labour was generally not perceived as a problem however golders in the wetland markets identified poor labour quality in the vicinity and preferring to 'import' staff from the neighbouring State, Orissa (Figure 1). Social capital reveals support through membership of relevant associations in the wetlands, however in other areas this was limited. Higher percentages of customer stability prevailed in all sectors whilst co-operation between 'actors' was supported by a general positive accessibility to informal financial resources. The exception to the latter appears for bheri managers / owners who relied more on bank loans as opposed to private loans, golders who expressed a lower necessity for loans, and hatchery managers / owners, who other than purchasing feed, occasionally broodstock and other materials, did not seek credit on a large scale from suppliers.


Natural capital is a consequence of environmental factors discussed where water availability was a problem throughout production and on a lesser scale, for golders in transporting fish seed, in terms of accessing water for replenishment during distribution. Water quality and nutrient supply have been mentioned, of which a higher percentage of wetland producers were least satisfied, however golders were satisfied with the hotel and pond water they utilised in transport, when available, as were patil wallahs. With regards to physical capital, only 10% of hatchery businesses visited had their own motor vehicles to distribute seed, otherwise utilising patil wallahs and golders, however the latter two were not necessarily unaffordable so caution should be exercised in interpretation of this data. Bheri owners do not transport fish seed and the economics of transportation of food- fish were not investigated. Affordable energy pertains to electricity and fuel, as discussed, of which the latter appears to be of more widespread significance, relating to bheri operation. Material supplies were generally adequate in facilitating production whilst unsatisfactory fish seed supply and quality, as discussed, was of more significance to bheri owners. Hatchery investigation revealed overall satisfaction with regards to broodstock quality and supply although many interviewees expressed a need for nurturing and conditioning post-purchase. The ownership of ponds for holding and / or nursing fish seed or leasing out was a significant asset of which over three-quarters of bheri owners possessed and half of hatchery businesses owned whilst 60% of ponds in nurseries were rented. Some golders had ponds for these purposes, being useful for holding fish in the event of emergency or delayed sale. Additionally, the majority of golders and patil wallahs carried hapas, which could be placed in ponds to temporarily house fish. The majority of respondents from all sectors had additional assets which varied in nature and included; a home, ponds and other fisheries (wetland owners / managers), land and ponds (nursery owners / managers), trucks and market fish stall (hatchery owners / managers), trucks, ponds, bicycle, motorcycle and land ( golders), home and bicycle ( atil wallahs and dallals) and, p bicycle and hundi (golder employees). Product / service price gives an indication of income from production. Financial capital shows hatchery managers as having the highest ability to invest in business. Low season income was available for most actors. Bheri workers retained work through the terms and conditions of their employment, as set by the Government in this particular region. Few nursery workers who were laid off in low season were able to find similar work in other nurseries whilst others were involved in agriculture and fishing. Some hatchery workers worked through the year managing ponds and broodstock, growing and trading vegetables, operating rickshaws and fishing for wild fish stocks, a form of natural capital. Half of the golders interviewed distributed fish all year and one 'dallal's income involved broodstock transactions. Only one patil wallah was interviewed and he traded exotic carps during low season, however the two golder employees interviewed had no income at low season. The latter two types of actors, amongst the poorest in the fish seed production and distribution network, were less likely to be financially supported by the system all year round. If demand for seed were less seasonal then the employment opportunities for the poorest in the network would appear to be greater.


13.2 Livelihood Vulnerabilities: Seasonality, Shocks and Trends 13.2.1 Seasonal Factors

Seasonal vulnerabilities pertaining to each sector (Table 15, Figure 37, Figure 38 and Figure 39), have been discussed. Poor labour availability was continuous (hatcheries) although not significant, and sporadic (golders) whilst not posing a problem in nurseries and bheries. Limited water supply in hatcheries (6 areas) and nurseries, in summer, affected pond stocks (Figure 37, Figure 38, and Appendix I), whilst in the wetlands sluice gate control limited quantities in the rainy season (Figure 39). Poor water quality was largely continuous for hatcheries in four places (Table 15, Appendix I and Figure 2) and nurseries and bheries in winter and spring (Figure 39 and Figure 38). High temperature, a universal problem in the summer, affected transportation of fish by middlemen, whilst low temperature in winter aggravated disease in all production systems (Table 15, Figure 37, Figure 38 and Figure 39). Disease was also a problem during the rainy season in hatcheries and bheries (Figure 37 and Figure 39). Finally, lack of finance was a winter problem for those involved in fish transportation due to limited work availability, a continuous problem to bheri owners due to labour costs, and a sporadic problem for hatchery and nursery owners from competition, disease, running costs, theft and occasional flood events. Seasonal constraints were varied, but applied to all production sectors with additional subsequent potential impacts on the poorest in the network dependent on production for their livelihoods. 13.2.2 Shock Factors

Shocks have been classified as natural and social in Table 16. Flooding ( Figure 37, Figure 38 and Figure 39) and disease were classed as shocks due to their unanticipated appearance or effects. The percentage of businesses affected by shocks was overall high. Aspects of flooding and disease impacts have been discussed where both have a severe impact on business. Theft of fish was generally a widespread problem often having a heavy i pact through financial loss and increased pond security costs for m producers. This in turn affects production employees although the local poor who were thought to be involved in the thefts would benefit. In the wetlands, local unemployment was provided as an explanation whilst security was often ineffective from the associated threats of violence. Storms although sudden had minor effects throughout. Associated with theft and competition, fish poisoning events affected 45% of hatcheries visited with slight to severe impacts financially through loss of production. 13.2.3 Trends Influencing Livelihoods

Increased competition in the hatchery sector over the years was lowering sale prices, reducing profits and influencing production expenditure. In response, fa lling production levels were evident in some cases in a static or apparently declining industry. Two hatcheries in the village of Tribeni, which is near Kalyani, were observed to have closed down however it was not established whether this was due to competition in the fish seed market. A highly expressed need for information and / or technology to aid business was recognised, however evidence of cultured species diversification was apparent; one business in Kalyani and one in Kaliagarh (Appendix I and Figure 2) changed production from IMC's to catfish due to their higher market price, in particular Clarias sp.. Fish seed production techniques utilised in hatcheries visited in the more remote Bankura District involved natural fertilisation, egg incubation and hatchling

rearing in earthen hapas (in cases where Chinese cisterns were not utilised) with seed quality forming the major production strategy as mentioned. In other regions visited, artificial stripping and fertilisation of fish and a higher priority on quantity, rather than quality, was apparently prevailing. However, from Table 3 it is evident that hatcheries in the Ramsagar area of Bankura sell hatchlings by the bati at some of the lowest prices in the network when compared with the other hatcheries. Two hundred rupees per bati was regarded as a high price for hatchlings produced in Ramsagar, whilst some hatcheries, such as some of those in Kalna, Kalyani and Mogra were able to sell hatchlings at no less than 250 Rs per bati, up to 600 800 Rs per bati. These higher prices mentioned however, were from hatcheries producing Clarias sp. which fetched a higher price, and only a few hatcheries produced. Two of these hatcheries also sold hatchlings to other States as indicated in Figure 20. The hatchery in Mogra additionally supplied a brochure detailing the species available, prices of hatchlings and fry, stocking densities in transport, packaging and distribution costs, which further advertised and marketed products. Hatcheries in Bankura also distributed to other States although hatchlings were usually auctioned first at Ramsagar Seed Market. The hatcheries investigated in Naihati however, were only able to sell hatchlings at 100 150 Rs per bati, perhaps due to the high production and competition in the area, although hatchlings tended to be distributed to more immediate destinations. It would therefore appear that diversifying the number of species cultured and distributing seed to more distant destinations, with limited involvement of middlemen, tends to enable producers to obtain higher prices for hatchlings. Clearly West Bengal is now linked to other States in providing a market for food fish. Unpredictable sewage wastewater availability and the constant threat of theft were additionally considered by some bheri managers as a potential threat to business profitability. Wetland based golders and patil wallahs who were interviewed noted limited opportunities for new entrants into fish seed distribution as competition was high between distributors. Andhara Pradesh exports large quantities of food fish but now locally produces carp seed. 13.3 Livelihood Outcomes On an individual scale, actors assets appear to increase in number and monetary value with higher income and job status. From Figure 40, with the exception of patil wallahs due to limited data, the poorest individuals in the network generally earned 50-100 rupees per day. Bheri workers however, generally earned less than this although they did receive rice and food- fish supplied by the bheri owner. Additionally, depending on the type of employee within the bheri, most bheri employees were guaranteed employment throughout the year unlike many of the other poorest types of actors in the network, therefore offering greater financial security. In consideration of these factors the differences in financial benefits between these employees and the other poorest actors in the network would appear to be less significant in terms of livelihood outcome. Theoretically, fewer assets increase vulnerability, and as labourers (with the exception of most bheri labourers) are often employed on a seasonal basis and rely on finding other sources of income during low season, of which the majority find. Within some businesses, employee demands for higher wages may reflect work demands and technical progression in the face of increasing competition and risk and lower business profits as mentioned by various actors. In the ECW bheries, the overall sustainability of fish production and livelihoods is linked to the opportunity-cost of land, the

availability of low cost nutrients, continued demand for small sewage-fed fish and the cost of labour. Change towards any decline in the number of carps stocked, and increased dominance of tilapias in the polyculture however could cause reduced employment within fish seed networks. Vulnerabilities at the business level potentially have greater impacts on those with fewer assets (labourers and patil wallahs), who collectively comprise of the vast majority of network actors. However others within the network who depend on a service or product which is suffering are potentially affected; in consideration of the degree of inter-dependence in the large network, of which Figure 14 is only a meagre representation, one component of vulnerability can have a multiplier effect on a large number of individuals. The balance of assets and vulnerabilities is therefore particularly important at the macro level. With regards to vulnerabilities, a number of factors have been identified which vary in nature, impact and predictability, which can often occur in combination. Water resources and disease were significant factors, which affected all production systems, the former categorised as both technical and environmental constraints which can significantly limit production and increase costs associated with supplementing resources thus having combined negative effects. These are relatively more predictable vulnerabilities given some degree of knowledge of the seasons and familiarity with the technical factors which have developed to influence water resources. In these circumstances anticipation allows a degree of adjustment and adaptation, as with other vulnerabilities, such as temperature fluctuation. Shocks, lending to greater vulnerability, were widespread and significant throughout production and in some cases distribution and were of natural and social origin. These, being largely unpredictable in nature, often have severe consequences mainly through lost production causing financial loss, occasionally taking years for recovery. Together, seasonal and shock factors combine to make a highly vulnerable livelihood for these producers, some moreso than others, which impacts on those dependent on the service or product, (particularly those whos income is seasonal) for sustaining their own livelihoods. Attempts by actors to reduce these negative impacts were evident, which incorporated the use of assets in risk management. Half of the hatchery systems were able to utilise their nursery pond assets, with most retaining approximately 10-20% of stock for ongrowing, which can spread income source and financial risk. In reverse, quick sale strategies of selling hatchlings reduced risks associated with economic input and potential loss of growing stock from the vulnerabilities mentioned. Hatcheries also produced a variety of species which, by allowing spawning throughout the season, spread risk and lengthened the period over which sales could be made. The reluctance of some hatcheries to grow broodstock for fear of economic loss (with preference for purchase) demonstrates risk management strategies associated with shock impacts of disease, sabotage, theft and flooding. Some nurseries in Bandel and Chunchura fed the stock sporadically to minimise production costs, however this strategy may have consequences fo r fish health; some nurseries in Bandel noted disease problems which required frequent use of therapeutants to control. The pumping of water in the ECW and hatcheries is an attempt to increase production output and minimise risk by maintaining adequate water resources however this is a solution which adds financial costs.



Severity of Impact (%) Flooding Disease Low Temp. High Temp.



Water Supply Water Quality


Fe b M arc h Jan M ay Au g Jun e Oc t Ap ril No v Se pt De c Jul y


Figure 37: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to hatcheries


Severity of Impact (%) Flooding


Disease Low Temp. High Temp. Water Supply Water Quality


20 0
M ay Jul y Oc t No v Au g M arc h Ap ril Jun e Se pt De c Jan Feb


Figure 38: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to nurseries

100 Severity of Impact (%) 80 60 40 20 0

Fe b M arc h Jan Au g Se pt Oc t No v Ap ril M ay Jun e De c Jul y

Flooding Disease Low Temp. High Temp. Water Supply Water Quality


Figure 39: Typical seasonality constraints pertaining to bheries % Impact Levels: 0=Nil, 20=Slight, 40=Fair, 60=Moderate, 80=Heavy, 100=Severe.

Figure 40: Business status and benefits of actors in the network

Criteria Sample Number Production Output Range yr-1 (x 1 million) Mean Production Output yr-1 (x 1 million) Product / Service Price Range Mean Product / Service Price Business Profit Range yr-1 (x 1000 Rs) Mean Business Profit yr-1 (x 1000 Rs) Employee No. Range per Business Mean No. Employees per Business Employee Wage Range (Rs day-1 ) Additional Employment Advantages Hatcheries 20 1-750 280 40-800 Rs Bati-1 131-384 Rs Bati-1 70-100 * * P: 0-35 T: 0-35 P: 8.4 T: 10.2 50-100 Pond management work in low season in some cases Seasonal Nurseries 16 0.1-48 11 25-260 Rs kg -1 114 Rs kg -1 20-70 34.7-42.2 P: 0-24 T: 0-10 P: 2.4 T: 6.2 50-100 Pond management work in low season in some cases Seasonal Bheries 9 23-296 MT yr-1 112 MT yr-1 18-50 Rs kg -1 29 Rs kg -1 N/A N/A P: 18-150 T: 0-10 P: 71 T: 1.1 38-51 Mostly permanent. Food (rice and fish) supplied, occasionally accommodation. *** Golders 10 N/A N/A N/A N/A 90-110 **** * T: 7-10 9 50-100 Occasional employment in low season Seasonal and sporadic Dallals 4 N/A N/A 20% commission ** 20% commission ** N/A N/A N/A N/A 20% comm. per transaction Work from home Patil Wallahs 1 N/A N/A 18-50 Rs kg -1 34 Rs kg -1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Networking for business

Employment Disadvantages (Based on respondents estimates) Key:


Business Profit

Product Price

Production Output



: Poorest network actors

: Employees of fish seed producers / distributors

P: Permanent employees, T: Temporary employees, *: Limited data, **: From both supplier and receiver, N/A: Not available / Not applicable, ***: 250g of fish per employee, ****: Golder net profit of 500 600 Rs truck-1 .


The numerous business relationships which any one individual has illustrates risk minimisation at a network scale; three of the hatchery owners who were interviewed were found to be related, where the eldest brother gained his knowledge of fish farming from his father, who worked for Mr Nilu Ghosh, and further trained his younger brothers in hatchery management allowing them to establish their own businesses. Golders connections with, and use of, dallals based in different areas enabled the collection of information on fish seed quality, availability and price over large areas, allowing golders to assess the potential risks associated with purchasing seed. Risk management therefore, in many cases, was based on social capital. In grading risk levels, hatcheries, as a whole, would appear to be subjected to less risk in comparison with on-growers who have fish seed suppliers to pay, higher feed costs, greater time exposure to environmental and social constraints and the employment of greater numbers of individuals. Less risk brings less vulnerability and promotes growth which is perhaps demonstrated by hatcheries wider ability to invest, offer credit and resist loans in comparison with other producers in the network. This has enabled some hatchery owners, with the relevant knowledge and training, within the present competitive climate to enhance profits by diversifying into more lucrative species and reduce competition. The two hatchery managers who converted from carp to catfish production, obtained their knowledge of catfish husbandry, and in one case broodstock, from producers in Bangladesh where they have social connections. The hatcheries, and other systems, which are unable to invest, grow and increase their assets, are affected more by the vulnerability factors described, which although claiming ability to invest, comprise of most of the hatcheries visited. The competition and cons traints in fish seed production mentioned, may be the main contributing factors towards fish seed quality with which a large percentage of bheri owners / managers have expressed dissatisfaction of some degree. The demand for quality fish seed by bheri owners in the wetlands, is met by golders who themselves seem satisfied with quality. Golders further rely on dallals to find and supply quality fish seed. An alternative and positive hatchery risk management strategy originating from this is evident in Bank ura; being unable to compete with the quantity of seed in the market which are produced around Naihati and being more isolated from the market, have utilised product differentiation by producing high quality seed. Despite competition, the high level of ne twork cooperation and presence of secure customer bases indicates the present level of interdependence required to reduce risk and sustain livelihoods. In respect of the socio-economic, environmental and technical nature of the constraints to the system it is clear that both long-term macro level and micro- level approaches are required to devise appropriate management plans for sustainable development in the fish seed network and associated livelihoods. Producers are vulnerable to large-scale environmental and socio-economic problems such as flooding, poor water quality, disease and theft. At the macro level, environmental and socio-economic issues require investigation by environmentalists and socio-economists to identify the cause and scale of the problems and possible mitigation measures which could be employed. Possible mitigation measures require addressing and discussion through workshops involving the above specialists, government and other stakeholders in the network with regards to the costs, benefits and feasibility of possible remediation measures.


At the micro- level (individual) it is apparent that the potential and capabilities of individuals within the network to overcome vulnerabilities is limited partly by financial, physical, natural, human and to a much lesser extent, social capital. In consideration of the nature and occurrence of the majority of these constraints, a variety of vulnerabilities could be reduced through micro-management which incorporates the individuals understanding of the concepts of the problems and exercising of knowledge and skills to manage them effectively, which appears to be lacking (human capital). At the business management level issues of production management including broodstock management, breeding strategies, fish husbandry, product marketing and management of seasonal and shock factors therefore require addressing. Environmentalists, aquaculturists, socio-economists, government fishery and environmental bodies and network stakeholders would therefore require to discuss the issues through workshops and devise a suitable management strategy which would involve training and technical support to producers and distributors in the network. Improved risk management at the fish seed production business level would aid the sustainability of production and additionally benefit the other actors in the network, such as labourers, patil wallahs, dallals and golders, dependent on production success. The poorest actors in the network often have no income during low season, therefore the potential for them to obtain additional sources of employment, and for seed producers to further extend the fish seed production season would benefit this sector of people. This would incorporate further analysis of other potential employment opportunities at the community level within villages where individuals are employed on a temporary basis by fish seed production and distribution. This would feed into the macro and micro level approaches mentioned. 14 Summary and Conclusions

14.1 Sustainable Development and Livelihood Status of Fish Culture 14.1.1 Food-fish

Fish forms an important component of a healthy diet, particularly in West Bengal being a rice- fish society. The culture of Indian Major Carps, exotic carps and few other species significantly contributes to food- fish supplies in India. West Bengal is a major supplier of fish seed both within and outside the state, supporting livelihoods in fish stocking systems all over India. 14.1.2 Actor Network and Distribution

The fish seed marketing and distribution network within West Bengal, is perhaps the most sophisticated and developed in Asia, exhibiting various channels and methods of distribution relating to the nature of the demand and transportation distances involved. This network is supported by, and illustrates, a high degree of connection and cooperation between the actors involved. Golders and dallals were the main distributors involved in distribution from nurseries, larger loads and more distant transport, whilst patil wallahs were more involved with hatchery to nursery or producer to market, shorter distance distribution and smaller loads. The marketing and distribution of fish seed within the network appears to be overall efficient in satisfying needs within West Bengal. However, improvements in the

marketing of seed produced in the more remote Bankura District were noted. Within West Bengal on-growers in Purulia and Midnapore Districts, where limited or no hatchery facilities are present, rely on fish seed supplies from outside. The neighbouring Bankura District, with abundant hatchery resources and limited nursing facilities, offers the nearest supply of fish seed for ongrowing in these Districts, which are primarily distributed by the purchasers or local small patil wallahs, however Districts further east make additional contributions. Opportunities for improving fish seed marketing from hatcheries in Bankura and nurseries in general and improvement in sustainable fish seed resources for Purulia and Midnapore through local production and stimulation of trader networks may prove beneficial. Naihati Fish Seed Market is an important trading point for the distribution of fish seed both locally and throughout India where seasonal differences in regions of India can dictate when and where certain species are distributed. Problems were identified in fish transportation including water availability, infrastructure limitations and costs associated with unofficial tolls. Long-term investment in improved infrastructure and reducing costs of transportation could be expected to increase imports of cultured fish towards urban areas of the State. 14.1.3 Hatcheries

Hatcheries in some Districts to the north and north-west of Calcutta produce hatchlings and small fry, which supplies both local and distant nursers and on-growers. Many hatcheries also practice nursing to more advanced stages of development. Breeding strategies employed in a proportion of hatcheries may be potential constraints although it is difficult to estimate the degree of risk of inbreeding. Developing improved awareness of broodstock management which involves dallals and golders as well as hatchery operators and further stimulation of producer organisations to lobby for Government technical and institutional support may prove beneficial. Environmental constraints to production pertained to a number of factors including iron and possibly arsenous species concentrations in tube-well water feeding some hatcheries. Water resource costs were indicated as problematic by some operators 14.1.4 Nurseries

Nurseries in areas to the north and north-west of Calcutta supply mostly local areas within West Bengal with fry and fingerling, of which bheries in the ECW receive many. Feeding strategies employed in nurseries were identified as potential technical constraints to production. 14.1.5 Ongrowing

Costs associated with pumping water to ponds during dry periods were indicated as a problem by ECW bheri operators whilst desires by operators for increased wastewater nutrient levels were expressed. Carps are mostly grown in the ECW although tilapias are increasing in popularity. If sufficient nutrient levels are maintained tilapias may become more important in production and supplying the local Calcutta fish markets, however as this would reduce the necessity for purchase of fish seed this may impact adversely on employment of locals in the ECW and on those supplying fish seed. Overall however the ECW is not as significant, in terms of numbers, a destination for fish seed produced in West Bengal when compared with overall distribution. Wastewater also contains industrial and agricultural pollutants which potentially impact

on consumers in addition to the domestic waste. 14.1.6 ECW and the Fish Seed Network

Considering the relationship between fish production in the ECW and the fish seed supply network, it would appear that relative to its productivity the waste-fed bheries are less important in stimulating and maintaining fish seed production in the State than might be expected. There is little seed production within the ECW and the food- fish production system is a low risk, thinning- type of operation. High seasonal demand is concentrated, only relatively few larger traders, wholesalers and agents are involved in distribution and value is added mainly due to the areas of production involved as fry are nursed, thinned and later sold as smaller food-fish. The demand is large but the roles of smaller independent middlemen and traders is relatively less important. Although production appears to be still increasing the importance of tilapia is also growing, probably at the expense of IMCs. If the constraints limiting the amounts of sewage to the bheries were overcome this might further stimulate production towards tilapia and away from carps as production of the former is optimised in more eutrophic water. This situation contrasts with high demand for nursed fry and fingerlings throughout West Bengal which stimulates local seed production, nursing and distribution and enlarges opportunities for the poor to benefit. Given the current knowledge of, and benefits to, bheri operators it makes more sense to focus limited Government support elsewhere in the State, especially towards decentralised strategies linked with commercial fry trading networks. 15.1.7 Fish Seed Quality

Some variation in fish seed quality was apparent in the network as expressed by seed purchasers. Most producers and distributors were able to assess fish seed quality, indicating high levels of knowledge amongst actors. In Midnapore and Purulia access to supplies of quality fish seed were less predictable and potentially more problematic. 15.1.8 General

Fish disease affected all production sectors, with the parasite Argulus sp., bacterial and fungal infections having the most apparent significant impacts. Flooding had a significant, seasonal and localised effect in all production sectors, causing fish loss and predator entry, being associated with city run-off in the wetlands and the Hooghly River in relation to hatchery and nursery operations, often having severe and lasting effects. Winter temperatures were associated with disease, whilst in summer high temperatures caused fish seed mortalities in production and distribution. Chemicals and therapeutants were employed widely in production systems, of which half were identified as being potentially harmful to the environment and / or humans through mechanisms of bioaccumulation and direct toxic effects on non-target organisms. 15.1.8 Socio-economic The number and value of assets of individuals in the network appear to diminish with job status and likely income. Aquaculture related work is generally periodic however

the majority of network actors find other income sources during low season with the exception of some wetland bheri labourers and sole-employees (dallals, golder employees and patil wallahs). These type of people, which account for the vast majority of network actors, are most vulnerable from impacts at the business level, whilst an impact on one component of the network potentially affects the sustainability of the system and livelihoods of others, having a multiplier effect. Water resource constraints, fish disease, and theft and flooding, of which most are widespread and recurrent, often have severe impacts with resultant, financial difficulties. Network actors employ strategies to minimise these risks, however with often unpredictable times of occurrence, and in some cases lack of knowledge of the contributing mechanisms, anticipation and control of the event and impacts with limited skills is problematic; in some cases the mitigation measures taken have additional potential negative impacts on the unit and the system. The majority of hatcheries would appear to be at less risk than other network actors or systems and reveal a greater ability to invest, however competition and vulnerability lower profits and subdue industry growth with potential impacts on fish seed resources. This scenario has provided market opportunities for some hatcheries aiming at producing higher quality fish seed whilst those with knowledge and investment power are showing diversification towards more lucrative products. Fish seed quality was noted by many actors to be of highest quality in Bankura District, where earthen hapas are generally used for natural fertilisation and egg incubation. If used widely, this simpler, lower cost technique may prove useful for producing better quality seed locally. However reduced seed production output would be expected and reduced efficiency in terms of the area and number of employees required, in comparison with artificial stripping and Chinese cistern method of incubation. Risk management and livelihood sustainability in the network is facilitated by assets, particularly inter-dependence and social cohesion between network actors. However in anticipation of growing demands for food- fish, quality fish seed, environmental preservation and perhaps food safety standards, the sustainable growth of the industry is questionable. The system would benefit from measures to promote sustainable development through various transforming structures and processes.


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Appendices Appendix I: Spatial grouping and classification of fish producers in the study
Area classification (main village/town) Naihati Kaliagarh Mogra Pandua Balagarh Kalyani District Village / town location HATCHERIES Rajendrapur Subhas Palli Dariapur Hamidpur Jaipur Motukpur Shripur Charkanchrapara Nabanagar Salidah Amlapukur Rarneswarpur Kalitala Barpetia Malpur Mouchura Barpata Ramsagar Bankura Dhoba Jor Binpur Midnapore Irekusum NURSERIES Hazinagar Naihati Amrapal Bandel Chawkbazar Haur Chunchura Chandannagar Narua Balimore Baddipur More Jogipara Tulapara Binpur Jhargram Bechadoba Dimdiha Pokalpara Tiljala BHERIES Various areas in wetlands Total No. in class

N-24-Parganas N-24-Parganas Hooghly Hooghly Hooghly Nadia

4 4 1 1 1 3





Bankura Binpur Midnapore Irekusum

Bankura Midnapore Midnapore Midnapore

2 1 1 1

Naihati Bandel Pandua Chunchura Chandannagar Kalitala Kalna Tulapara Binpur Jhargram Dimdiha Purulia East Calcutta Wetlands

N-24-Parganas Hooghly Hooghly Hooghly Hooghly Hooghly Bardwan Midnapore Midnapore Midnapore Purulia Purulia N & S-24-Pgs.

7 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 9


Appendix II: Broodstock inventory for hatcheries in West Bengal

Hatchery Location Species (%) Broodstock Source Own Stock (%) Naihati Naihati IMC, Sc, Gc, Lb. (N/A) IMC (75) Pg, Sc, Gc, Lb (25) Pg x Cl R (30) C (70) Cl (hybrid) (100) 100 25 Other Purchased (%) 75 (MarketBardwan) - purchased if stock low 100 (Machlandpur Habra, Barasat) 50 (public pond only once) 30 (Neighbour producers) Exchange Practised 1 x year 1hatchery Broodstock Management Breeding Age (Yr) 2+ 4 Sex Ratio (M:F) 10:12 or 10:15 2:1 No. Spawns / Season 1 2-3

No. Years Spawne d N/A 25% replaced / year N/A N/A

Post-spawning fate

All sold Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool, rejects sold.

Naihati Kaliagarh

(too costly) -

N/A -

No specific age 3

5:4 10:12

3-4 1-2

Kaliagarh Kaliagarh

IMC (50) Sc, Bh (50) IMC, Bh, Sc, Gc (70) Cl (hybrid) (30)

50 70

3+ Jp 1-2 R, Sc 3 Gc 2, Other 2 C 2.5-3 3+ N/A

1:1 or 2:3 1:2

2 Jp 3-4 R1 C2 M2 1 2


Kaliagarh Kalyani


IMC (60) Sc, Jp (40) R (40) M (30) C (30) IMC, Pg x Cl Sc, Gc

30 100

70 Occasionally losses from floods 40 (Bardwan, Memari hybrids) 100 (Bangladesh hybrids) 85 (but from local villages every year) 100 (local producers)

2:1 2:3 (N) 1:2 (A) 3:2

1 6-7

All sold Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool, rejects sold



Pg, Cl (100)

C 3+ R 2+ Other 4+ 4+





IMC (80) Lb, Sc, Bh, Gc, Cc (20) IMC (70) Bh, Cc (30)




R 2-3 C 2.5, Lb 2 Cc 2.5-3 Sc & Gc 2 N/A

1:1 or 1:2

Return to pool, rejects sold

1: 1 or 1:3

All sold for food


Kalna Kalna

IMC, Bh, Gc, Lb, Cc IMC (50) Gc, Jp, Sc, Bh, Lb, Cc (50) IMC (60) Gc, Bh, Sc (20) Cc, Lb, Pg, Jp (20) IMC, Lb, Cu (40) Sc, Bh, Gc, Pg, Cl, Cc (60)

20 Mostly

80 (from local villages) Sometimes flood losses Sometimes from local producers Desire to buy from other Districts. Too expensive & timely to catch from wild Buys 1 x year local fishery 50

3 N/A 1:2

4 2-3

N/A 2-3

3+ kg sold Return to pool, rejects sold Return to pool, rejects sold. Return to pool



C 3+ M & R 1.5 2+

2:1 or 3:1




Bardwan & Howra

1:2 (A) 1:1 (N)



Balagarh Ramsagar

IMC, Sc, Bh, Lb, Cc IMC (80) Lb (15) Sc (5) IMC (80) Sc, Gc, Lb, Cc (20)

Mostly 50

N/A 3

1:2 or 1:3 1:1

1 (10% 2x) 2

N/A 4

Return to pool, rejects sold Return to pool, rejects sold


20 (new, every 2+ 1:1 2 5-7 N/A year from local market) Ramsagar IMC (60) 70 30 (Hooghly, 2-3 1:1 2 N/A 2+ yrs sold at Sc, Lb, Gc, Jp (40) Bardwan, market Midnapur) Key: IMC=Indian Major Carps, M=mrigal, C=catla, R=rohu, Sc=Silver carp, Bh=Bighead carp, Gc=Grass carp, Lb=Labeo bata, Cc=Common carp, Jp=Puntius javanicus, Pg=Pangasius sp., Cl=Clarias sp.



Appendix III: Percentage species output from twenty hatcheries visited in five Districts
District Hatchery Location No. Species Produced 3 4 7 1 4 5 7 3 7 2 7 7 5 9 12 10 7 5 7 7 5.9 10 20 20 15 10 20 25 30 20 25 19.3 10 40 30 20 10 20 15 25 20 30 20.0 10 20 20 15 10 20 15 25 20 25 18.1 10 10 10 25 5 20 5 6.7 7.7 5 5 3.2 5 3.5 0.3 1.5 5 5 40 5 15 5 10 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 15 10 10 5 10 5 5 10 5 5 10 15 10 5 3.7 11.2 4.5 0.3 10 10 5 5 20 5 5 15 20 10 40 25 20 20 10 30 25 15 20 10 30 25 10 10 10 60 10 40 10 15 15 10 50 10 30 rohu (%) mrigal (%) catla (%) Silver carp (%) Bighea d carp (%) Grass carp (%) Commo n carp (%) calbasu (%) Japane se puti (%) Labeo bata (%) Clarias (%) Pangasi us (%) Americ an rohu (%)

Naihati Naihati N-24-Parganas Naihati Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kaliagarh Kalyani Nadia Kalyani Kalyani Kalna Bardwan Kalna Kalna Kalna Mogra Pandua Balagarh Ramsagar Bankura Ramsagar Ramsagar Mean

25 40 25

60 25

15 30 25 10 10 5 100 15 15 10


(Based on hatchery owners estimates)


Appendix IV: Possible fish diseases affecting production in West Bengal

Local Name of Disease Argulus Clinical Signs of Disease, and / or Behavioural Signs in Fish Parasites on the skin Possible Types of Disease Fish Development Stages Affected F, B Seasons of Occurrence No. of Disease Cases Identified 15 Therpeutants used by Fish Producers Butox, Metacid, Nuvan, Chlorpyrifos, Potassium permanganate. Lime (Calcium carbonate) Specifics Related to the Possible Types of Disease Identified and Recommendations Younger fish are more susceptible. Isolation of susceptible young fish from older age groups. Dry and disinfect ponds between rearings. Placing sticks in ponds to collect parasite eggs. Lernaeosis: Enters through water supply. Attaches to gills and skin of fish. Causes ulcers / abscesses in flesh. Potassium permanganate treatment. Trematodes: cause gill damage and mucus secretion. Bromex-50 treatment. EUS : pathogen enters through broken skin, causing granulomas within tissue. Prevention of pathogen entry, pond management, treat ectoparasites and undertake prophylactic treatments. Difficult to control once established. Erythrodermatitis: eroded skin surrounded by inflamed reddish zone, possibly large and sometimes deep ulcers. Seriously affected fish develop exophthalmia and ascites. Treatment with oxytetracycline. Saprolegniasis: attacks open wounds on skin and immunologically stressed fish. Grey-white patches and eroding tissue. Good hygiene, Potassium permanganate, Copper sulphate or Malachite green, treatments. Columnmaris: grey patches on skin and / or gills. Potassium permanganate or Copper sulphate treatment.

Argulosis (Argulus spp.) (Copepod parasites)

All Year

None Identified

Abdominal distension (bloating) with heamorrhaging and ulcers on gills, fins and skin.

1. Lernaeosis (L. cyprinacea; L. ctenopharyngodonis) (Worm parasites) 2. Trematodes (Dactylogyrus vastator; D. extensus) 3. Epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) (Aphanomyces invadens) (Fungus). 4. Erythrodermatitis (Subspecies of Aeromonas salmonicida) (Bacterium) Possible other bacterial involvement e.g. Columnaris disease as detailed below. 1. Saprolegniasis (Saprolegnia spp.) (Fungus) Additionally possibly of bacterial origin (eg. fin rot) as detailed below. Bacterial / Fungal infection. Various possibilities: 1. Columnaris disease

F, B, TF.

Winter (Nov-Feb) and Rainy Season (June-Sept.)

None Identified

Tail necrosis

F, B, TF.

Winter (Nov-Feb)

Potassium permanganate, Dimecron.

None Identified

Lesions / sore patches on skin

F, B, TF.

Winter (Nov-Feb)


Potassium permanganate, Malachite green, Curin,


(Flexibacter columnaris) 2. Edwardsiellosis (Edwardsiella tarda) 3. EUS 4. Erythrodermatitis (Subspecies of Aeromonas salmonicida 1. Trematode:Parasite (Dactylogyrosis sp.) 2. Gill rot: (Bacteria) (Myxococcus piscicola) Various possibilities e.g Columnaris disease 1. Ichthyophthiriasis (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) (Protozoan)

Lime. Edwardsiellosis: gas filled lesions on skin. Occurs in organically polluted water. Oxytetracycline treatment. EUS : as noted above. Erythrodermatitis: as noted above.


Inflammation of gills of the fish

F, TF.

Rainy Season (June-Sept.)

Potassium permanganate

Trematodes: as noted above. Gill rot: Pale gill filaments and slime however opercula may be inflamed. Columnaris disease: as noted above.

None Identified

Spinning and circling behaviour of the fish

F, B.

Summer (AprilJune) and Rainy Season (June-Sept.)

Terramyacin, Napthaleen, Sokrena-WS

Ichthyophthiriasis: penetrate the skin. Cause acute restlessness, rubbing. Formalin treatment. Whirling disease: protozoan which feeds on fish cartilage. Prevention of contact as no current treatment.

2. Signs consistent with Whirling disease (Myxosoma cerebralis) (protozoan) however only recorded as infective of salmonids H=hatchlings, F=Fry and Fingerlings, B=Broodstock, TF=Food-fish. Information sources: respondent interviews; Pillay (1990); Lilley et al. (2000)


Appendix V: Substances used in fin-fish culture in West Bengal

Substance Common / Trade Name Napthaleen Terramyacin Potassium permanganate Neem tree Sokrena-WS Butox Endosulfan Type of Substance and Recommended Intended Use Insect repellent properties Anti-fungal / bacterial properties General oxidising agent Natural pesticide Unidentified Insecticide Insecticide Identified Use of Substance in Aquaculture General fish disease treatment Prophylactic fish disease treatment Disinfectant and prophylactic fish disease treatment Prophylactic parasite treatment General fish disease treatment Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of parasitic diseases Active Ingredients and Concentrations of Substance Napthaleen Oxytetracyline Potassium permanganate Tetranortriterpenoids di-decyldimethyl ammonium chloride Deltamethrin 50 mg/L (Pyrethroid) Endosulfan Possible Harmful or Damaging Effects of Active Ingredients Soluble. Persist for 2 weeks in water. May affect red blood cells and cause gastro-intestinal problems. No significant hazards identified. Oxidising properties. No significant hazards identified. Unidentified Unidentified Toxic to aquatic life. Possible dermal and respiratory conditions in humans. Largely insoluble. Can persist for several years in environment. Bioaccumulation, possible neurological, immunological and birth defects, in animals. Possible human neurological defects and respiratory conditions. Organophosphate. Soluble. Persist for days in the environment. Possible human neural and respiratory disfunction at high concentrations. Insoluble. Quickly breaks down. MP: Organophosphate. Possible human neurological defects and respiratory conditions. Can persist for several months in the environment. Soluble. Quickly degraded. Carcinogenic properties. Skin and respiratory irritant. Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Possible carcinogen (undergoing further research): may affect product consumer. Unidentified

Dimecron Nuvan

Pesticide / Poison Insecticide

Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of parasitic diseases

Organothiophospohate compound Dichlorvos 76%, solvent 13.4%. Chlorpyrifos 20% Methyl parathion (MP) 50% EC, Nitrophenols 10%. Formaldehyde Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Triphenylmethane (metabolised to leucomalachite green) Unidentified

Chlorpyrifos Metacid

Herbicide / Insecticide Insecticide

Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of parasitic diseases

Formalin Gammexane Curin Purazon forte Malachite green

Fixative: anti-parasitic properties Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Fungicide / Bactericide

Antibacterial and parasitic treatment Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of parasitic diseases Treatment of bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections Anti Bacterial fungicide




Kerosine oil

Hydrocarbon based (unknown)

Insecticide used in pond preparation

Aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds

Partially soluble. May persist for decades in the environment. Bioaccumulation in plants and animals. Skin disorders and mental, respiratory disfunction. Organophosphate. Undergoes chemical change in environment. Neural, genetic and birth defects. Possible carcinogen. Dangerous to aquatic life and non-target organisms: tissue damage and deformities. Unidentified * Anaemic symptoms in humans and animals. Used as antacid treatment in humans. No significant hazards identified. Unidentified Persistent in the environment. Possible neurological and reproductive effects. Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified Unidentified



Piscicide use in pond preparation

Malathion 50 EC

Hexidol Nitralin Eccrephelamin Horitaki Tannic acid

Unidentified Herbicide Unidentified Herb Unidentified

Piscicide use in pond preparation Treatment of fish eggs Treatment of fish eggs Treatment of fish eggs Broodstock conditioning

Unidentified dinitroaniline Aluminium hydroxide, Magnesium trisilicate Unidentified Lead 0.004%

Leathermilk Tannery residue (unknown) Conditioning if fish Unidentified Acriflavine BPC Not determined Post-injection wound healing Unidentified Becosule Vitamin supplement Vitamin supplement Specific vitamins unidentified Andomix Vitamin supplement Vitamin supplement Specific vitamins unidentified Ravitol Vitamin supplement Vitamin supplement Specific vitamins unidentified Mariequine Vitamin supplement Vitamin supplement Specific vitamins unidentified * Possible harmful and damaging effects provided refer to Aniline as opposed to the derivative Di-nitro-aniline. Information sources: Substance product containers inspected during fieldwork &:

ATSDR (2000a), ATSDR (2000b), ATSDR (2000c), Baker (2001), CNN (2001), DOH (1999), Medschool (1999), Morgan (2001), NPTN (1998), Pluth et al. (1996), Proctor et al. (1988), Sinclair (2001), SPIC (2001a), SPIC (2001b).