West Bengal has categorised fisheries sector as a sunrise sector providing investment opportunities in areas of fish production, fish exports, fish processing and fish tourism. While the state wants to give a major boost in fish production to unleash the target of the National Fisheries Development Board of increasing productivity by 8% annually to touch 15 million tonnes of production by 2020, it wants to tap a considerable portion of the Rs 3,000 crore umbrella scheme, which seeks to bring about blue revolution and integrated development and management of fisheries.
Soumyajit Das, director, West Bengal State Fisheries Board, said the state has send a Rs 250 crore first phase proposal, which comprises Rs 100 crore for de-siltation, Rs 50 crore for seed culture and Rs 100 crore for processing. But as a part of integrated development and management of fisheries, the state, along with development of pisciculture, have taken steps in creation of infrastructural facilities like construction of rural roads, housing, rural electrification, tube wells community halls and auditorium in both inland and marine fishing villages.
The state has carved out 810 large water bodies for fisheries, for which Rs 23 crore have been spent on providing fish food. The government will create an integrated fisheries zone, develop fishery estates, develop Sunderbans and Digha as special fishery zones, promote farming of large fish and provide land and associated legal documents to homeless fishermen as a part of integrated development and management of fisheries.
According to Chandranath Sinha, state’s minister for fisheries, the government has framed West Bengal Fisheries Investment Policy -2015 for micro, small, medium & large enterprises in fisheries sector, which focuses on extending fiscal incentives for setting up of new micro, small, medium and large enterprises.
“This will propel the growth of the sector as a whole and encourage the development of these enterprises even in the least developed areas of the state,” Sinha said.
He said since West Bengal accounted for 20% of the country’s total fish production at 16.71 lakh metric tonne in 2016 and total exports of marine products was $530.91 million implying 11.33% of the total marine products exports worth $4,687.94 million from India in 2016, we can consider enhancing both production, processing and exports to fetch more revenue for the state. “We are working closely with the National Fisheries Board to this end,” Sinha said.