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West Bengal: Jadavpur University scientists developing a model to predict Hilsa catch February 14,2017   |  Source: The Hinudstan Times

Marine scientists from Jadavpur University in Kolkata are developing a model to predict how much Hilsa would reach the Bengali platter every year. “The model will not only tell us how much Hilsa would be available in the rivers and estuaries, but also the sustainable fishing limit. The quantity could vary from year to year depending on various factors such as availability of food (plankton), turbidity, fresh water flow, wind direction, lunar phase and sea surface temperature among others,” said Sugata Hazra, director of School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University, who is leading the project.

Hilsa is often reckoned as the queen of fishes by Bengalis, most of whom are fanatic about its aroma and taste. The declining availability of hilsa is of great concern to almost all Bengalis in the country that peaks every year during the monsoons. The obsession is such that chief minister Mamata Banerjee was flooded with requests to persuade Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to lift the ban on hilsa exports to India that Dhaka imposed in July 2012.

Work on the model is progressing and the JU team hopes to come up with the predictive model sometime later this year. “We are studying several models including ‘Ecopath with Ecosim’ – a path-breaking model

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)