Fish production declines, fishing fails to catch fancy of Himachal farmers

Shimla: Endowed with many water bodies, both man-made and natural ones, yet fishing as a economic activity has failed to attract more takers with their being just 4538 fishermen families in Himachal who generates an annual economy of about Rs 50 crores.

In 2011-12, the state had recorded a total fish production of 8045 tons and the total business was valued at Rs 50.55 Cr and fishery minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri yesterday during question hour informed the Vidhan Sabha that in 2012-13 the fish production had dropped to 7574.7 tons. For the year fishery recorded Rs 50.26 Cr of business, he said.

The state has over 600 Kms of cold streams that are very conducive for exotic trout fish breeds, besides the over 2400 Kms of warm water rivers and streams in which Mahaseer and other fist thrive.

Other than the rivers and streams, large water bodies such as Bhakra dam backwaters and Pond Dam reservoir make up for 26,930 hectares of water bodies.

There are also cold water lakes which constitute about 752 hectares of area and other ponds and lakes which are estimated at about 1000 hectares of water bodies in Himachal

Fish production in Kangra district for 2012-13 was recorded at 2581 tons and was valued at Rs 14.65 Cr which was followed by Bilaspur district where production touched 1517.33 tons and carried a value of Rs 8.31 Cr.

Fishing was being carried out mainly under the aegis of cooperative societies and there were 45 such societies functioning. In Bhakra back waters there were about 2094 fisherman families and in Pong Dam backwaters there were 2303 fisherman families. Rainbow trout

However it is trout farms that is attracting some attention among fish farming and Kullu legislator Maheswar Singh speaking during question hour sought to get the activity included under agriculture to enable more funds to flow into fishing as a viable livelihood activity.

In 2011-12 the cold streams and trout farms produced about 77 tons of fish, of which 18 tons came from government established farms and 59 tons production was recorded at private farms.

Selling at Rs 300 per Kg, trout farmers want the price to be increased to Rs 400/- per Kg, something that Maheshwar Singh sought and assurance from the fishery minister in the house yesterday. However, Thakur Singh Bharmouri did not heed to the lawmakers demand saying that an officers committee was looking into the matter.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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