Anantnag June 28 : The rearing of Trout fish is turning a major contributor for providing employment to youth in Kashmir.
This could be gauged from the fact that thousands of people in Kashmir are associated with rearing of Trout fish in the valley and earning lakhs of rupees annually.
Official sources told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) that there are over 700 private trout fish units in Kashmir and many more are being established under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, a scheme to boost fish production and generate employment opportunities.
“We made four fish ponds on our two kanals of land and they give us revenue over Rs 8 lakh annually. Our children are not looking for government jobs, instead rearing the fish. Thousands of people are associated with rearing fish in Kashmir especially in Anantnag,” said Mohammad Aslam, who has a fish farm in South Kashmir.
In Anantnag district, a lot of fisheries farms have been established by people with the support of government. In June 2018, Anantnag district was also declared as trout fish district of India.
Fisheries export and Chief Project Officer of Kokernag trout farm Muzaffar Bazaaz said various states have introduced trout in their respective places because of its success.
“Government in various states purchase from us, supply to their farmers who then rear in their respective farms. This has a good success rate that is why various states are introducing it in their respective places. It has a better quality and growth rate,” he told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
He said Kokernag along with Verinag and Achabal fish farms generated revenue Rs 2 crore and 5 lakh during 2020-2021. “Rearing of Trout has a great scope. I advise our youth to take up the fish culture,” he added.
Known for its natural beauty, Kashmir has the distinction of having Asia’s largest trout fisheries farm in Kokernag Anantnag. The farm is supervised by Manzoor Ahmad, who has well expertise in rearing trout.
Spread over 20 hectares, the farm was set up in 1985 with support from the European Economic Committee.
Besides, trout is present in all the streams and Nallahs of the valley. The important ones are Lidder, Wangath, Gurez, Hamal, Lam, Sindh, Kishenganga, Sukhnag, Doodhganga, Erin, Ferozpur(Tangmarg), Bringi, Aharbal, Hirpora, Dachigam, Kokernag, Naristan, Madhumati and Nowbugh.
According to government figures, private and government farms produce 600 tonnes of trout annually in Kashmir. These generate more than Rs 13 crore revenue annually.
Trout is cold water fish. It survives only in running water and temperatures between 0 to 20 degree Celsius. It is rich in protein and boosts immunity. Each kilogram is sold around Rs 500.
The first batch of trout ova of 10,000 eggs arrived from the UK in 1899. Unfortunately the first batch perished enroute due to non existence of air transport. The 2nd shipment of trout ova arrived from Scotland on December 19, 1900 through J.S.Macdonall and were reared in the premises of a private carpet factory owner (Michel) in Baghi Dilawar Khan in Srinagar.
Now various areas across the country including Shillong, Shimla, Nagaland, Arunchal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and neighbouring country Nepal are rearing trout fish in their respective places that have been transported from Kashmir. (KINS)