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Fisheries and Mariculture - Inland Aquaculture

Digha-Sankarpur Coastal Area

Digha-Sankarpur area under Ramnagar Block-I in the western coastal stretch contributes a rich fishery from middle August to middle February of the year. Edible fish diversity of Digha-Sankarpur coast has been estimated from landing statistics as below:
Tenulosa ilisa, Pama pama, Setipinna spp., Trichiurus spp, Harpodon nehereus, Coilia spp., Ilisha elonhata, Sciaena biauritus, Polynemus indicus, Chirocentrus doral, Prawns – (Penaeus monodon, Acetes spp., Macrobrachium rosenbergii), Tachydurus jella, Stromateus cinereus, Polynemus peradiseus, Coilia sppp, etc. The efficiency and operating range of traditional fishing activities have undergone drastic changes in recent years (from about 1987) due to the impact of mechanization of fishing craft and by use of synthetic fibers for gears (specially trawling). The total marine catch has increased with regard to fishing area and coastline (Table below)


Total catch
(000 tonnes)

No of mechanized boats

Calculated CPUE (tones per boat)

2000 – 01

















However, the data indicate that during the last five years the total fish catch has shown only marginal increase in spite of significant increase in fishing effort. Thus catch per unit effort (considering mechanized boat only) has shown considerable decline pointing to non-sustainability of fishing in this part of the coast in future. Presently 143 species of finfish and 19 species of shellfish (crustaceans) are reportedly available at the landing stations of Digha-Sankarpur area.

The main fish landing centres are located in and around Digha, i.e., Digha Mohona, Sankarpur, Jalda and new Jalda (Dadanpatrabar). The majority of landed catch is transported to Kolkata and other markets of south directly. Hilsa constitutes the major (20%) portion of the fish catch (Table below)

Name of species

Range of availability (%)

Average (%)

H. ilisha

8.4 – 46.4



1.4 – 24.5



0.6 – 16.4


T. jella

4.9 – 14.1


S. cinercus

4.9 – 12.1


S. biauritus

1.5 – 11.6


Setipping sp.

0.3 – 7.1


Coilia sp.

0.1 – 6.4


H. nehereus

1.0 – 3.4


Trichiurus sp.

0.3 – 2.8



Out of the 4 World Bank aided shrimp culture projects, one each is located at Digha (74 ha) and Dadanpatra (250 ha). The target production is from 500 to 1000 kg/ha/year. Through State Government initiative two fresh water prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) and one crab hatchery are running in pilot scale.

Sagar-Sundarban Coastal Areas

Many rivers run across the Sundarban and falls into the Bay of Bengal. These rivers contain various fish species. Sundarban provides 90% of fish species of eastern coast and the coastal fishery of East India is dependent upon the Sundarban. There are over 300 species of marine and freshwater fishes, prawns and crabs occurring in this region.  Among fin fish species there are: Lates calcarifer, hilsha ilisha, Liza parsia, Liza tade, Harpadon nehereus, Plotosus canius, Pompus argenteus, Pangasius pangasius, Chanos chanos, Eleutheronema tetradactylum, Polynemous paradiseus and Pama pama. Shellfish species includes Penaeus monodon and Metapenaeus monoceros. There are two types of edible crabs: Scylla serrata and neptunus pelagiens. Among these, the most highly valued economic species is the Tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon). In fact, major economic activities of this region centre round this species through collecting and marketing seeds as well as rearing and farming in brackish water bheries. Amongst the fin fishes, the highly priced hilsa (Teualosa ilisha), bhetki (Lates calcarifer), bhangone (Liza tade), parse (Liza parsia), etc., form a lucrative fishery of this region. More than 500 tonnes of the mud crab (Scylla serrata) is exported alive to far eastern countries. Indiscriminate exploitation of fishery resources and unregulated use of shooting nets of small mesh size in the estuary for the collection of tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon) seeds are resulting in tremendous loss of diversity of faunal components in the estuaries of SBR. The result of such rampant destruction of other juvenile fish seeds has been reflected in the drop in availability and catch of other fish species in the estuaries. The estimated number of fish species lost by this process is about 30 in number which are of indigenous type. These species breed naturally in the estuaries and cannot be breed in captivity. The loss in biodiversity has also been evident by species wise drop in fish catch by the fishermen.

The annual total fish yield (in metric ton) in Sundarban varies from about 26000 to 51000 with about 80% of the fish catch taking place during November to January. Out of the total annual catch, the annual Hilsha Drift Gillnet Fishery yields about 1000 to 7500 tons.