Fish Farming Picking Pace In Kashmir

Fish Farming Picking Pace In Kashmir

17 November 2013
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Fish farming unheard of in Kashmir till a few years ago, is now picking pace with many youth choosing it as profession. Muhammad Yaqoub, a fish farmer from Srinagar district says that few years back, he applied for financial assistance under centre sponsored scheme for setting up fish farm. “I along with my friend thought of establishing fish farm after being told about its benefits by a foreign tourist. Knowing that local demand here is good, we got initial financial assistance from Fisheries department and since then we are doing good business,” he said, adding that annually they earn handsome amount from the trade. Yaqoub said that educated youth should take advantage of schemes of the centre government and establish fish farms which is a lucrative business. He said the demand for local trout fishes is tremendous in the market. Zahid Ahmad of Budgam who has applied for financial assistance for setting up fish farm at his native place says that instead of running after government jobs, “I thought of starting a fish farm.” A senior official in Fisheries Department said: “Many youth are approaching fisheries department for establishing fish farms.” He said that to increase the fish production in the state, the department has introduced a number of schemes to woo educated youth towards fish farming. However, the fish farmers complained that there is dire need of fish markets in the state where they can sell their produce with any hassles. “We have to be depended on dealers to sell fish as a result of which our profit gets shrunk. So there is a dire need of establishing fish market where we could directly sell our product to the customers,” said Mudasir Ahmad, a fish farmer. According to experts, trout farming in the state has tremendous potential as the quality and breed of trout here is good and can be exported outside state. Director Fisheries, R K Dogra said: “Educated youth coming for fish farming is an encouraging sign. Under National Mission for Protein Supplements financial assistance is being provided to the youth for setting fish farms.” “So far more than 1100 youth have started fish farming and are doing good,” Dogra said, adding that with the private participation the fish production in the state has increased. “J&K state produced 19.95 thousand tonnes of fish last year and the production is likely to increase next year,” he said. “There are more than 1000 carp farms and 260 trout fish farmers in the state, which have boosted the fish production and more farms will come up in future,” Dogra said, adding despite that the state has to import 15 to 20 percent of its fish consumption to meet the demand. “The state government has allotted land at Batmaloo area in Srinagar city for developing fish market on which work will be started soon,” he said. The Director Fisheries added the potential of Trout fish farming is tremendous in the state. Trout Fisheries received a major thrust during the last two decades with the establishment of Mother Trout Fish Farming Project at Kokernag under European Union Assistance. Besides this, the Department has another Trout Hatchery at Laribal where quality Trout seed of Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout is being produced.