Courtesy: Himachal PR
Himachal Pradesh State reservoirs have the distinction of producing highest fish production per hectare as compared to the other reservoirs in the country. Commercial Trout production touched 14.98 tonnes in public sector and 52.3 tonnes in private sector during 2007-08.
Soon these fisheries may be classified into reservoirs, riverine, village ponds and high altitude lakes. Due to the concerted efforts made by the State Government it has been possible to tap almost all the available resources and make some exemplary achievements in the fisheries reservoirs and commercial farming of Rainbow Trout.
The river length of the state is over 3,000 km, which is rich in fish fauna. The three reservoirs of Gobind Sagar, Pong Dam and Chamera with an area of over 42,000 hectares are rearing Rainbow, Brown Trout species etc. These reservoirs have the distinction of achieving highest per hectare fish production in Gobind Sagar and highest sale price value of fish catch in Pong Dam in the country.
Despite tough eco-climate conditions, fish seed production and fish production in the state has attained a level of 20 million and 7,337 tonnes respectively. The upper zones of the state’s rivers are abode of Exotic Trouts and Snow Trouts while the lower parts are bestowed with highly precious fish fauna like Golden Mahseer (To-putitora, Mystus Seenghala, Wallago Attu and mirror Carps).
From the commercial point of view, fish species in Gobind Sagar and Pong Dam reservoirs have become a source of economic upliftment of local population. It can be proudly mentioned that Himachal Pradesh is the first State in the country which has introduced and popularised Trout farming in the private sector, which is contributing over 50 tonnes of Trout. Himachal is producing 7,337 tonnes of fish valued at about Rs 37 crore and is contributing significantly towards providing quality fish to the consumers.
Department of fisheries with its multi-pronged strategy has been able to arrest the downfall in fish catches during the year 2007-08 when an increase of 350 tonnes was registered. Efforts are afoot by the state government to develop the First Mahseer Fish Farm at Badon in Tehsil Jogindernagar in District Mandi at a cost of over Rs 5 crore, while a new farm on the bank of river Tirthan at Hamini (Kullu) is also being constructed at a cost of about Rs 2.5 crore.
Efforts of the state government are underway to make fisheries an employment generation avocation so that rural youth can be engaged in this gainful employment, besides utilising the aqua potential available in the state.
There are number of welfare schemes for the welfare of fishermen. This includes welfare scheme for reservoir fishermen, fishermen accident insurance scheme, close season assistance scheme and risk fund scheme to protect the interest of the fishermen while working in adverse circumstance and conditions. There are 19 Co-operative fishermen societies registered in the State, which has made Himachal Pradesh the only State in the country where cooperative fish farming is being promoted.
The Himachal government is extending premium free insurance cover of Rs 50, 000 to the licensed fishermen operating in the State riverine sector benefiting about 11,000 fishermen families in the State. In case of permanent disability, the fishermen will be entitled to get Rs 25,000. Fishery is one of the sectors where large number of avenues for self-employment exist.