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Advisories for inland fishers in the context of COVID19

Many states have exempted fisheries and aquaculture activities including transportation from restricted list during lockdown. Handling of the catch, including its movement to the market are inevitable as fishes are perishable goods. However, fishers have to follow safety measures to prevent spread of the disease. Simple measures include social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene by washing of hands with soap, wearing of face mask, protective clothing and cleaning of gears can inhibit the spread of the pandemic.

Advisory for fishers of river, estuaries, channels and creeks to be abided by fishers and fishermen cooperative societies

  1. Personal hygiene and social distancing to be followed by the fishers engaged in fish harvesting before, during and after executing of the fishing operation.
  2. Fishers involved in fishing activities should always use masks and wash hands with soap at reasonable intervals.
  3. Fish harvesting in inland sector is performed in group. So, in case of manual operation of craft and gears, atleast 3 feet distance between each fisher may be maintained. Country crafts operating should only carry two persons for fishing. No two boats should be operated closely and a distance of more than 3 m needs to be maintained.
  4. Maintain safe distance of 3-4 feet during rest, taking of meals, transfer of catch in landing.
  5. If possible, the gears and crafts and other fishing implements may be sanitized after each operation. After washing with soap solution, those may be dipped in 1% Sodium hypochlorite solution for 5 minutes followed by Sun drying. Gears may also be soaked in neem solution (indigenously made) and then dried under sun. No crowding is allowed. Periodical disinfection is allowed.
  6. The landing centre of the fishes may be cleaned and sanitized with Bleaching powder sodium hypochlorite or any sanitizer looking in to safety issues solution at regular interval.
  7. Fish auction points may be opened for a specific time and auctioneers entry in the auction point should be regulated by the fishermen societies and they should also abide by the safety measures of COVID 19.
  8. The family members of the fishers' family sometimes migrate in search of job. If, in lockdown period, he/she has come from outside may be asked to be at his/her home for 14 days in quarantine. Children and Pregnant women should not be allowed.

Advisories for reservoir and wetland fishers /PFCS

  1. The fishers must work in small groups at a time when they will be out of their home for any fishery related activities and must wear protective masks/cover and wash and sanitize their hands at frequent intervals and should maintain social distance. Use of gloves is recommended while handling and packing the fish produced. Engage only healthy individuals to avoid infection spread.
  2. Staggered harvesting of fish is recommended involving minimum fishers especially for floodplain wetlands and seasonal tanks.
  3. Marginal fishers can operate cast nets, gill nets and traps individually.
  4. The community harvesting from perennial reservoirs can be put on hold and marginal fishers can operate from coracle or country boat with one or two persons in a craft using gill net .
  5. In case of cage/pen culture operations, preferably one or two healthy individuals can be assigned for routine activities like feeding and monitoring of fish. The fish in enclosures must feed routinely to avoid crop loss and mortality due to malnutrition. Implements including nets, buckets, feed trays etc. should be disinfected and sanitized at regular intervals.
  6. The fisher's co-operatives practicing feeding of fish in open wetlands must reduce the ration by 50% and check for oxygen depletion in the water body due to high standing stock.
  7. Breeding and larval rearing activities can be carried out in hatcheries following safety guidelines and by maintaining social distancing. The nursery and rearing pond preparation may also be undertaken following adequate self-protection measures.
  8. PFCS must ensure safety of fishers engaged in fisheries related activities and also ensure the availability of masks and soaps/sanitizers with assistance from State departments/NGOs.
  9. Precaution must be taken to avoid crowding of people while landing the fish and the produce may be marketed locally. The harvest may be collected by fishers in small groups and can be handed over to 3 or 4 assigned persons for transport to market. State fisheries dept. must ensure availability of ice and minimum requirements for proper marketing of fish.
  10. Nets/traps/boats etc. to be sanitized after each operation and healthy individuals only should operate same craft to minimize risk of contact transmission.
  11. The Gol and State govt. notifications and guidelines must be strictly followed during visit to markets for purchase of inputs like feed, fertilizers, chemotherapeutics like oxygen tablet, zeolite, etc and also marketing of fish.

Source and for further details, contact : ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore - 700120



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