Brainstorming Session on Sunderbans at CIFRI

Barrackpore, 3rd June, 2012

Brainstorming Session on Sunderbans at CIFRICentral Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), Barrackpore, organized a Brainstorming Session on “Sundarbans: Issues and Threats” to celebrate 15th Sundarban Day on 3rd June 2012. This Day is celebrated as birth day of Sir William Roxburgh, the foremost of the Botanists who worked extensively for the Sundarbans.

Prof. A. P. Sharma, Director, CIFRI initiated the session with welcome address and outlined objectives of the event. Prof. Amalesh Chaudhury, Secretary, SD Marine Research Institute, Sagar Island and chairman of the session shared his experiences of working in Sundarban for the last 50 years. “CIFRI Compendium on Sundarbans- Retrospect and Prospects” was released on the occasion.

A presentation by Dr. Utpal Bhaumik, Head, Riverine Ecology and Fisheries Division, CIFRI highlighted that a total of 254 fish species, 25 species of prawns, 28 species of crabs, 8 species of fish parasitic isopods and 92 species of mangrove associated mollusks were recorded in a recent study. He opined that increased salinity in rivers of Sundarban is the major concern of the day.  Due to less freshwater discharge, rivers of the Sunderbans namely Matlah, Saptamukhi, Thakuran etc have rare occurrence of hilsa (T. ilisha). He also added that after Aila, four species are established in the area.

Brainstorming Session on Sunderbans at CIFRIDr. C. S. Chakraborty, Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, highlighted that during post Aila period there is a change of fish and benthos species structure which may be studied with special stress on non-availability of some species.  He stressed upon hilsa juvenile availability pattern in entire Hooghly Matlah estuary. Dr. P. Das, Former Director, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow exoressed his concern towards the loss of mangrove and nursery ground of estuarine and marine fish species. Indiscriminate destruction of fish juveniles by nonselective fishing gear like bag nets, shooting net, set barrier etc. is a threat to aquatic biodiversity. Dr. Dipankar Saha, Consultant mentioned the need of diversified agriculture in Sundarbans. Dr. A. K. Ghosh, Former Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata elaborated the present scenario and expressed that we need to have reappraisal of the Sundarban ecosystem. It was opinion of the experts that due to Pollution and global warming the delta is submerging slowly into the Bay of Bengal. Hence, the existence of this delta and its habitants are in great danger.

Dr. S. N. Biswas, Deputy Director (Fisheries), Govt. of W.B. addressed the issues regarding technical and administrative problem like bank loans, remote place training and trained manpower for the development of Sundarban. Representatives from Department of Fisheries (Govt. of W.B.), Sundarban Development Board, NGO’s elaborated the real problems faced by them in implementing the schemes for Sundarban. The session recommended a collaborative approach within the organizations on the highlighted issues for the development of Sundarbans.

 (Source: CIFRI, Barrackpore)