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The Bergram Majhipara Common Pool Fish Pond: A Case Study

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Singh, Katar; Bhattadnarjee, Saumindra
Date: 1990
Agency: Institute of Rural Management, Anand, India
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3877
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): fisheries
common pool resources
Abstract: "This case study presents an overview if inland fisheries and the State of West Bengal and an in-depth study of pool fish pond in Bergram Hajhipara village of Birbhum of West Bengal. On the basis of the overview, we could conclude that there exists a lot of potential in India in general and in West Bengal in particular to increase both production and of inland fisheries. In West Bengal, there are vested and other types of common pool fish ponds locally known as multi-ownership tanks whose productivity is much below their potential. This is so because, being a common pool resource, they are all victims of the 'tragedy of the commons'. The State Government has created, by enacting the West Bengal Inland Fisheries Act, 1984 and the West Bengal Inland fisheries Rules, 1985, and by launching a number of prorates for development of inland fisheries, an enabling environment for improving the productivity of the common pool fish ponds in the State through improved scientific management. The 1985 Rules seek, inter alia, to encourage collective/co-operative management of the multi-ownership tanks that are either lying unused, or are not managed properly. "The in-depth case study of a common pool fish pond in Bergran Majhipara village, which is wholly inhabited by tribals, snowed that pisciculture was an economically viable activity==and that even large but homogeneous groups of villagers could collectively manage pisciculture in common pool fish ponds and increase their income and improve their nutrition. As to the three other fish ponds that we studied in the villages, the Bergram Majhipara tank got the highest fish yield per rupee spent on fish feed and thus was most efficient. "What villagers need to be able to successfully manage their common pool fish ponds is a catalytic agent who could help them in organising themselves, and who could initially provide them some financial assistance and technical information about scientific pisciculture. A relatively low initial investment in their renovation and in initiating pisciculture could transform the almost unproductive common pool tanks into very valuable and dependable source of income, employment, and nutritious food for the poor villagers and avoid the 'tragedy of the commons'. Cooperative management of common pool tanks ensures equity in the distribution of their benefits among the members and inculcates among them the spirit of co-operation and reciprocity and therefore it should be preferred to other modes of management."

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