Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on shrimp aquaculture in West Bengal, India
Keywords:COVID-19, Shrimp aquaculture, Supply chain disruptions, SPF broodstocks, Mitigation measures
COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has adversely impacted every activity and all the sectors including aquaculture globally. Thousands of families of coastal West Bengal are directly or indirectly involved in shrimp farming for their employment and earn handsome income to sustain their lives and livelihoods. A survey was conducted among the stakeholders of the shrimp farming sector to assess the prospective effect of lockdown in all the parts of the shrimp aquaculture sector during both the summer crop and winter crop cultivation. As the strict lockdown norms were implemented during the summer crop so, the severe constraints during this culture were assessed in two phases (Phase I- 21st March to 30th April 2020 & Phase II- 1st May to 21st June 2020) using Garrett's Ranking Analysis and the constraints were ranked accordingly. The constraint of 'uncertainty over the culture and market' ranked 1st and the 'lack of quality seeds' ranked 1st in the 1st and 2nd phase of culture respectively. The uncertainty in the procurement of farming inputs, unavailability of specific pathogen-free (SPF) broodstocks & high health (HH) shrimp seeds, increased cost towards the cultivation, lack of manpower, absence of an assured international market, etc. have halted the shrimp farming operations noticeably. The farm input suppliers have also experienced supply chain disruptions due to lockdown. The Government of India permitted input supply and services in fisheries and aquaculture as an essential service to lessen the pandemic impact. Short-term policy measures are recommended for mitigation measures.