Trouts, a lucrative proposition in Kashmir

January 20th, 2009 - 6:33 pm ICT by ANI  

By Tahir Nadeem Khan
Rajouri, Jan 20 (ANI): Trout fish cultivation has gained fillip in Jammu and Kashmir’’s Rajouri District as the State Fisheries Department is successfully harnessing the potential to produce trout, a valuable commercial fish.
Trout, both brown and the rainbow species, is a coldwater fish found aplenty in the Beas, Sutlej and Ravi rivers flowing in from the upper reaches of the Himalayan range.
In 1984, a trout fish-farming project was set up at Kokernag, 79 kilometres south of Srinagar with assistance of the European Economic Community (EEC).
The project was successful and emerged as Asia’’s largest trout farm.
The Kokernag farm has now restocked trout fishes in the valley’’s streams and the trout production has increased manifold.
Consequently, quality trout is available at State’’s fishery centres at much cheaper rates as compared to other trout producing nations of Asia.
The Fisheries Department is propagating trout farming in the cold-water rivers for the promotion of sport fishing to attract more tourists from abroad.
“We cultivate fish in the still waters. In fish farming, the investment is less as compared to the profits we generate. We have more than 100 units engaged in the farming in the Rajouri District alone. And we earn minimum 20 to 30 thousand through one Kanal,” said Qasim Lone, Assistant Director, Fisheries Department, Jammu and Kashmir.
Commanding massive demand within India and abroad, 10,000 to 150,000 of trout fish are being exported. This is apart from the amateur anglers and tourists netting this fish.
“We export nearly ten thousand to fifteen thousand a fish every year.We want more of our trout fish to be exported. We also get support from the Jammu and Kashmir Government,” said Mohammed Iqbal, a private fish firm owner.
Trout is highly nutritious. It is said that an average-sized trout contains about 1.8 grams of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that is needed for the development of brain and retina in infants.
This fish also contains 20 percent protein, Vitamin A, B, B1, C2 and D and forms the basis of healthy, low fat and fibre-rich diet.
The saga of trout in Kashmir valley dates back to the era of British colonial rule. It is believed that trout was introduced here for angling by an Englishman named Frank Mitchell in 1899.
He reared the trout in premises of his private carpet factory at Bagh-e-Dilawar Khan (Garden of Dilawar Khan) located in old city Srinagar.
Later,he established the first trout hatchery at Harwan, situated on the outskirts of Srinagar in 1901,which today has become a prospective proposition. (ANI)

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