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Raising Ornamental Fish in West Bengal

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Ornamental fish farming and trade in Jafarpur (South 24 Parganas), Domjur and Dasnagar (Howrah, West Bengal).

According to a 2014 report in the International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, the Kolkata port (around which the ornamental fisheries are centered in West Bengal) is responsible for exporting 90 per cent of indigenous fish from the country. 


Entrepreneurs in Domjur (West Bengal) like Samar Parui and fish cultivators in Udayrampur hamlets like Kandon Ghora have been  engaged in this occupation for years. Since the 2000s, Self Help Groups in Jafarpur and Howrah have also taken up aquarium fish farming as their livelihood. Training in this occupation is relatively easy; these enterprises, hence, generate income for a wide range of people, from the unemployed youth to homemakers looking for financial independence. 


The hobby of fish-keeping in Indian households predates systematized income from ornamental fish trade, as evidenced by the garden pools and vivaria in ancestral mansions. Notwithstanding the brief history of the ornamental fish industry in post-independent India, the trade supports 500 families solely within the Dasnanagar, Howrah region, as estimated by Dr. B.K. Mahapatra from ICAR-CIFE, Kolkata. 


The breeding, rearing and selling of both indigenous and exotic variety fish continue to thrive in West Bengal's Nadia, Hooghly, South and North 24 Parganas as well as in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and the North-Eastern Hilly regions.