Impact of introduction of culture-based fisheries on fish production and socio-economic conditions of fishers in Ampara wewa, a medium perennial reservoir
K.B. Chandrani Pushpalatha , Jayantha Chandrasoma, W.M.J. Rohitha Fernando
Introduction of culture-based fisheries (CBF) in minor perennial reservoirs is a recent development in Sri Lanka. CBF was introduced to Ampara wewa, (240 ha at FSL), a medium-sized perennial reservoir situated in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Main activities involved in introduction of CBF were reorganization and strengthening of community-based fishers’ organization (CBO), training of CBO members, preparation of a development plan, stocking, introduction of fishery management measures and harvesting. Main species used in stocking was Nile tilapia. Other species used were catla, rohu and freshwater prawn (FWP).
Introduction of CBF resulted in an increase of total average annual fish production of the reservoir from 5.6 to 118.1 tonnes. Main contributors to fish production after establishment of CBF were Nile tilapia (82.2%), catla (12.7%) and rohu (2.4%). Biomass gain of fish per fingerling of Nile tilapia, catla, rohu and freshwater prawn were 0.23, 0.45, 0.14 and 0.0048 respectively. Monetary gains for stocking a fingerling of tilapia, catla and rohu were Rs. 27.11, 38.59 and 10.87 respectively. Stocking of FWP had a negative monetary gain.
With the establishment of CBF, number of full time fishers engaged in fishing increased from 13 to 33. In addition there were 22 part-time fishers. Similarly number of fish traders engaged in selling fish from Ampara wewa increased from 3 to 13. Average monthly income of a fisher was Rs. 40,360 after the establishment of CBF, which was a five-fold increase from pre-CBF period. Higher income has resulted in enhanced standard of living among fishers. Thirty percent of the fishers built new houses, and 70% improved/expanded existing houses. Sixty six percent of full time fishers purchased motor bicycles, whereas 39.3% purchased three-wheelers utilizing enhanced income from CBF. All 33 full-time fishers had saving accounts and 66% of the full-time fishers saved money in banks in the name of their dependents.