Fishery is another pivotal economic sector of the state as well as the district economy. It is not only a source of animal protein but also a popular economic activity in a coastal district like Balasore. Because it generates a remunerative, stable income than agriculture, a number of villagers are getting involved in this activity. The unemployed rural youth are getting a significant opportunity to earn money without migrating elsewhere. Previously, the occupation was limited to ‘Keuta’ sub-caste of Scheduled Caste category but the continuous remunerative earning has attracted all other castes. It is obvious that a long 80 km coastal line provides enormous opportunity for marine fishing. But the district also has enormous inland and brackish water resources suitable for inland fishing.
The fishing of the district may be broadly classified into three categories i.e. a) Marine b) Inland fresh water c) Brackish water. Balasore district is rich in all three forms of fishing as it possesses 80 km of coast line with 538 sq km of continental shelf. The coastal villages of blocks Bhograi, Baliapal, Balasore, Remuna and Bahanaga practise fishing. Twelve landing bases located in the coastal blocks of the district are – Talasari, Kirtania, Kankadapal, Choumukh, Hanskara, Bahabalpur, Chandipur, Mahisali, Khandia, Jamuca, Gadeisagar and Panchubisa (6.10). As per information provided by the Assistant Director of Fisheries, Marine there are 290 fishing villages located in the marine sector consisting of 14704 families with 115931 population up to 2012. There are 40923 males and 39928 females and the number of children are 35070. Among the total males 25687 are active fishermen i.e. almost 60.77% and rest are engaged as part time fishermen (Manual1, Assistant Director of Fishing, Balasore, 2012). Five marine extension units working in the district are Chandaneswar, Bahabalpur, Chandipur, Baliapal,and Gopalpur (Fig.6.10). There are almost 1672 number of registered fishing boats in operation under different landing bases of the coast, covering different categories namely Trawler, Gillnetter, Motorized and Country Crafts for fishing .In 2009-10 the number was 2213.
Among these blocks, Balasore Sadar is mostly advanced in marine fishing. Continuous demands of marine fishes in foreign countries and other states have encouraged development of fishing harbors in some specific locations. Among them Balramgadi in Balasore plays a significant role. Except this, Kharasahapur, Maharudrapur, Chaumukh, Udaipur, Talsari, Kasafal are locally known standard fishing spots (Fig.6.10). Except this, coastal belt fishing is done at a small scale to supply the local market, and for consumption. The villages located along the coast engage in fishing beside cultivation. But in many cases agriculture holds a passive role in the economy. As the lands are salt effected in the coastal parts of Balasore, Remuna, Baliapal, Bahanaga so the lands are used as the water tanks or ‘Bheries’ to cultivate salt water fishes like lobster, bhetki , etc inducing a change of land use. However the Orissa Fishing Act plays its own role in legislative control over fishing.
6.2.1Marine fishing: The history of marine fishing of Balasore district is enriched form the time period when present Bhadrak district was a part of it. At that time there was 130 km coastline of Balasore. In The District Gazetteer of Balasore it is informed that in 1981 a survey conducted by Fisheries Department revealed that the district had 84000 fishermen populations. But after the division of Bhadrak and Balasore, this figure has reduced and the coastline also has become 81 km. In 1962 first mechanized fishing was introduced (Behuria, 1992) and traditional cotton twine for making fishing net was replaced by nylon. This also helped a lot to develop the marine fish production. Some steps have also been implemented to develop marine fisheries –
i) Establishment of ice plants and cold storages and speedy mechanism for fishing with the help of institutional finance and availability of subsidy.
ii) Better harbouring facility including mooring and repairing.
iii) Operating new trawlers and gill netters at Chandipur with a research on the diversification of fishing method.
iv) Establishment of co-operative society to deal with mechanized fishing.
With the help of these steps the production of marine fishes has increased. As Chandipur is an eminent port for fishing, the Fisheries Department has constructed an ice plant for the private fishermen at a reasonable cost. A concrete ‘T’ jetty with approach road, diesel, outlet and drinking water facility was constructed at a cost of Rs. 15 lakhs at Chandipur with funds provided by Government of India. This was a landing base for mechanized and traditional vessels. But the jetty is not used by the fishermen as they find it more convenient for landing their fish in the traditional fishing base at Balaramgadi,” (Behuria, 1992). However maximum production of fish of this district comes from marine fisheries. On an average 34048 metric tons of fish/year have been produced with only 8.35% of variabilityduring1994-2011 period. Though the production is quite impressive but this is not consumed by the locals as maximum of the production is used for export purpose. Among the blocks, only