Scanty rainfall limits fish spawns, fingerling shortage looms


Laishram Shamungou
IMPHAL, Sep 28: In addition to the adverse im-pacts caused by insufficient rainfall to paddy cultivation, the volume of fish spawns produced this year is also quite low on account of scanty rainfall.
People/firms including Central Agriculture University which are engaged in producing fish spawns faced a very difficult situation this year as the volume of fish eggs was quite low while a considerable portion of the fish spawns perished before they could hatch.
Soibam Surchandra (52) who is engaged in production of fish spawns at Hiyangthang Mamang Lei-kai said that mature fishes could not carry eggs. Even if some of them carry eggs, the eggs could not mature due to scanty rainfall.
As winter season is about to set in, there is no time for producing fish spawns. As such there would be shortage of fish spawns next year, Surchandra said who has been engaged in production of fish spawns since 1981.
Surchandra has been producing spawns of fish varieties like Rohu, Mrigal, Catla, Grass Carp, Common Carp, Silver Carp, Tungha-nbi, Ngaton and Pengba and the same are supplied to fish farmers of the State.
Speculating that the total number of people working as fish farmers in the State may be around 20,000, Surchandra informed that efforts to produce fish spawns using hatcheries too proved unsuccessful.
Normally, Surchandra produced 120 to 150 million fingerlings in his farm in a year but this year, he produced only 50 to 60 million fingerlings.
“The failure of fishes to lay eggs and hatch spawns has cost me around Rs 10 lakh”, he said.
Laishram Babloo who is also engaged in producing fish spawns at Chairel said that the volume of fish spawns produced this year was much lower than the average on account of scanty rainfall and higher water temperature.
“Even if the eggs hat-ched, the rate of survival was very low and this was something unprecedented in my experience of 14/15 years”, Babloo said.
He said that he has suffered a loss of Rs 2/3 lakh.
CAU Deputy Director (Instruction) Dr Yumnam Devjit conveyed that the drought like situation experienced in the State severely affected breeding of fish spawns. Rates of fertilisation and hatching dropped drastically and the rate of survival of hatched eggs was also low.
Dr Devjit said that the global climate change would affect rearing of Pengba which is the State fish.
CAU’s efforts to breed fish spawns using artificial rainfall met with limited success, he conveyed.
Directorate of Environment and Climate Change Deputy Director and State Climate Change Cell Nodal Officer Dr T Brajakumar said that the volume of rainfall received by the State increased by 5 per cent between 1985 and 2015 but the period of rainfall underwent changes.
During the past 30 years, the minimum temperature in the State during winter rose by 0.25 to 0.75 Degree Celsius. The minimum temperature is likely to grow by 1 to 1.5 Degree Celsius by 2030 and by 3 Degree Celsius in 2080, Dr Brajakumar said.
Such climatic changes always produce adverse impacts on agriculture and allied activities, he added.
This report is filed under the State Level Climate Media Fellowship sponsored by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change.