The Fisheries Department of the then Government of Bengal was first set up in the year 1911. Thereafter, on the recommendation of the Bengal Retrenchment Committee, the Department was abolished in the year 1923. The Department was again revived in the year 1942 inasmuch as it was felt necessary to cope up with the growing needs for increase in production of fish by way of exploiting all the available impounded water resources in the then undivided Bengal primarily for two reasons: - (1) Love of fish in the diet for every Bengali family and (2) increase in population. After revival of the Department in the year 1942, it has been functioning continuously since then. The scope of activities of the Department had been expanding gradually and since the beginning of the first five year plan increasing number of schemes are being taken up for development of Pisciculture in West Bengal with the end of not only attaining self-sufficiency in regard to production of fish in the State but also exploring possibilities for requirement of fish and fish products across the country and abroad. Because of involvement of the Department in multi-directional fishery related activities, it has been renamed as the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources & Fishing Harbours (hereinafter referred to as the Department) in May, 2001.
The Department has under its administrative control one Directorate i.e. Directorate of Fisheries, West Bengal with its officers posted in the headquarters and districts responsible for not only implementing various programmes and policies of the Department with the object of increasing production of fish of various species by way of exploring different methods of culture in keeping parity with the modern scientific and technological developments in the world in the field of fisheries sciences but also for disseminating the knowledge gained to the Pisciculturists and entrepreneurs by way of imparting training conducted at regular intervals at different places down to the Block level. The Department has also under its control two Corporations viz. State Fisheries Development Corporation (SFDC) and West Bengal Fisheries Corporation (WBFC) and one apex body of fishermen's co-operative viz. West Bengal State Fishermen's Co-operative Federation Ltd. (BENFISH). Besides, there are two agencies namely, Fish Farmers' Development Agency (FFDA) and Brackishwater Fish Farmers' Development Agency (BFDA) under the control of the Department. All the above named Corporations, apex body and agencies are engaged in executing multi-dimensional activities of the Department related to the comprehensive development of fisheries and upliftment of socio-economic condition of the fishermen community still belonging to the down-trodden section of the society.