Now Cage culture to boost fish production in HP

Shimla/ March 25

The new concept of cage culture would soon be launched in the two largest water reservoirs of Himachal to boost fish production. The state Fisheries department has planned to invite the tenders to purchase the fish cages and other equipment to launch the projects.

The new concept and technique is being introduced in Govind Sagar and Pong dam for the first time, for which a provision of Rs. 6.68 crore has been made ( also announced in HP’s proposed budget).

From the fishery point of view, this new concept is expected to give a big boost in fish production in the two largest water reservoirs of state,Govind Sagar in district Bilaspur and Pong Dam in district Kangra. Both these water reservoirs and man made lakes have a total water spread of more than 40000 hectares.

“The money had been sanctioned for this project and the cages will be distributed to the fisherman through co-operative societies,” director, state fisheries department, B.D Sharma said. He said that in this concept the fish can be reared and feeded in the cages, which has better scope to increase the fish production. It is a technique in which the production of commercial species can be done with more successfully.

According to sources a team of central government had visited the Govind Sagar and Maharana Pratap Sagar (Pong Dam) in the first week of September last year to find the fitness and suitability of these two big water reservoirs for cage culture concept. According to experts this practice of fish farming has proved successful Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

It is to be noted that these two large reservoirs in Himachal alone has a water spread of more than 40,000 hectares which is providing an excellent place for cage fishing. The state’s two reservoirs —Bhakra dam (Govind Sagar) and Pong dam are a source of livelihood for more than 5 thousand of families who are mostly dependent on fish production.

The fish production is also generating an income of nearly  Rs. 1357.6 lakhs for the state government  by way of royalty, fee and fines etc.During 2009-10 alone a total of 1515.27 tonnes of fish valued Rs. 841.90 lakhs was harvested by 3586 fishermen from Gobind Sagar & Pong Reservoirs. The department’s income during a single year alone (2009-10) was Rs. 228.59 lakhs.

Further, Gobind Sagar is maintaining an unique distinction of highest per ha fish production (over 48 to 100 kg/ha.) for over one decade, the Pong Reservoir fishermen are getting highest per unit price of their catch at landing sites (Rs. 41-83/ kg.) in the country.

Gobind Sagar has recorded fish production from meager 25kgs/ha to as high as 120 kgs/ha. As a sequel to increased productivity the fishing operation has also become remunerative enough to sustain these fishermen.It is also a fact that Himachal Pradesh is a leading state as far as inland fish production is concerned.