discussion / Human-Wildlife Conflict  / 21 June 2023

"FISH BANK PROGRAM"(Transforming fishing cat and fish farmer conflict into conservation)

In our working area Nepal, there is a conflict between fish farmers and the fishing cat, as the cat often steals fish from the farmers' ponds. This has led to retaliatory killings of the fishing cat, endangering the species. To address this issue, we developed a solution called the "Fish Bank Program".

The Fish Bank Program is a unique initiative that creates a win-win situation for both the fishing cat and the fish farmers. In each village, a fishing cat conservation committee is formed with members consisting of fish farmers and other fishing dependent individuals. The committee selects one of the fishponds in the village to be developed as a fish bank.

Initially, we support the fish hatchlings in the selected pond, which is then managed by the committee. If any of the fish farmers in the village lose their fish, they can claim their losses from the fish bank, which compensates them for the losses. In addition, a percentage of the ready fish is distributed to fishing-dependent individuals at a nominal rate, and the remaining fish is sold in the market. The revenue generated is used to run the fish bank.

This model of the Fish Bank Program helps to transform the conflict between the fishing cat and fish farmers into a conservation effort. The program has been implemented in a small area initially, and there are plans to extend it to the entire landscape.