Shimla: With a view to boost production of exotic rainbow trout fish in ice cold waters of Himachal Pradesh, the state government is promoting fish farms in high altitude and tribal areas.
State Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri laid the foundation of a fish farm in Bharmaur tribal area to be developed at a cost of Rs 4 crore, and this would be the seventh fish farm in the state, while more such parks are in the pipeline to increase fish production.
Trout fish , both brown and rainbow, are found in the snow-fed Beas, Sutlej and Ravi rivers in the higher reaches of the state where the temperature of water hovers around freezing point.
Bharmouri said that this run-of-the-river farm at Thalla village, 12 km from Bharmaur in Chamba district, would annually produce six to seven tonnes of trout and start production by the end of the year.
The farm would also produce around 1.5 to 2 lakh fingerlings to be supplied to fish breeders, he said.
Being a game fish, the brown trout is also an angler`s delight and a large number of anglers comes to Kullu, Manali, Pabbar and other areas for fun.
The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)-Hyderabad has sanctioned a Rs 1.2-crore project to boost fish production in the state and a provision for extending a loan of Rs 2.3 lakh each for the construction of 100 run-of-river rainbow trout farms in the private sector, Bharmauri said.
The commercial fish production in 2013-14 was at 9,580 tonnes that included 233 tonnes of trout, mainly the rainbow variety.
The state has over 100 trout farms, mainly in Kullu, Chamba, Shimla, Kinnaur and Mandi districts.
Of the 3,000-km network of state fisheries, water resources, 600 km of cold water streams are conducive for trout farming.
As per a study conducted by Agro-Economic Research Centre of Himachal Pradesh University on trout farms in Kullu, Mandi, and Shimla and Kinnaur districts, average annual production of a small fish farm is 900 kg, whereas a big farm has capacity to produce up to 3,400 kg of fish.
The trout fish fetches price of Rs 221 to Rs 250 per kg and a farmer earns a profit of over 35 per cent, researchers said.