Study on the impact of cyclone Fani on Fisheries of Odisha

 5-11 June 2019, Odisha

The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani in the Bay of Bengal had landfall on Puri district in Odisha coast on 3rd May 2019 with the wind speed of around 200 km per hour, resulting in considerable damage in 4 districts viz., Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Jagatsinpur. A team of Scientists from ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore assessed the damages, focusing on the fishery sector in the affected areas of Odisha. The team comprised of Scientists from different disciplines including Aquaculture, Fishery Resource Management, Agricultural Chemicals, Agricultural Economics, and Agricultural Extension. The study started with a field assessment of the damage done by the storm Fani.

Study on the impact of cyclone Fani on Fisheries of Odisha  Study on the impact of cyclone Fani on Fisheries of Odisha

To understand the impact of Fani in the Inland open waters, including fisheries and fishermen, rivers and estuarine (Mahanadi) and lagoon (Chilika) ecosystems were selected. The assessment was made analyzing all the biotic and abiotic parameters and comparing them with those of 2016. The preliminary analysis did not find any significant differences in the fish catch. It has also been recorded that the water quality aspects of the lagoon Chilika and rivers Mahanadi, Kathajodi-Devi have reached to their normalcy and are productive as usual to contribute in the production process. No major abnormalities were recorded in the fish catch composition and catch per unit effort, etc.

The team also visited around 15 fishermen villages of Mahanadi estuary in Jagatsinghpur district and different sectors of Chilika lagoon and Puri proper in Puri district. The team recorded that in Puri district extensive and severe damages have occurred to kutcha houses, fishing boats, nets, household articles of the fishers. Close to 90% of the fishing boats and nets have been severely damaged in the Satapada area of the Chilika outer channel. The kuccha houses were almost completely damaged and semi-pucca houses lost their roofs along the track of the storm. The household items and stored agricultural produce were also badly damaged. The residents are still continuing to struggle for basic needs like food, water and power in the worst-hit areas. Besides fisheries, the agricultural, horticultural crops like mango, cashew and plantation crops like coconuts were also hard hit. The cyclone has also damaged the agricultural land in the coastal areas. According to the state government's preliminary assessment, more than 30 per cent crop has been damaged in Odisha due the cyclone. More than 1,00,000 hectares of agricultural land was badly affected in 14 districts of the state.

The damage has been massive and therefore, time is required to bring back normalcy, particularly in Puri district. However, due to the excellent efforts of the Government, including advance warning, aggressive announcement and evacuation it was possible to lessen the impact on fishermen assets. In the villages of Jagatsinghpur district the damage was relatively much less due to reduced intensity of the storm. The team observed that the Government is doing a great job in providing timely relief. The fishermen families were given rice, cash, solar light and polyethene sheets in severely affected areas. Moreover, house building assistance as per relief code will also be provided, as reported.

(Source: ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore)