With AsiaвЂ™s largest fisheries farm in South KashmirвЂ™s Anantnag district emerging as the producer that is best of rainbow trout on the planet, private farms are taking to trout rearing and finding it commercially viable
The weekend getaway of Kokernag, 22km from Anantnag, is home to AsiaвЂ™s largest fisheries farm this is certainly emerging while the best producer of rainbow trout in the world.
Spread over 20 hectares, the farm was put up 36 years back with support through the European Economic Committee. It started with a hatchery that is single has now been upgraded to 3 hatcheries who supply scores of eyed ova and seeds to beneficiaries, including private fish farmers spiritual singles.
Trout farming into the private sector was introduced by the government last year and has now been a success. At the moment, there are many than 540 private farms trout that is rearing earning their livelihood in Kokernag.
Simply the conditions that are right
The principle trout farming project officer at Kokernag, Mohammad Muzaffar Bazaz, says Kashmir has 2 kinds of fisheries, warm and chilled water. вЂњFor trout culture, the temperature shouldnвЂ™t exceed 20 degrees Celsius. Brown trouts are in abundance into the reaches that are upperвЂќ he says.
Being the very first fisheries postgraduate (MFSc) of Kashmir, Bazaz has a special liking for this farm and spends his entire trip to the hatcheries, raceways and streams to keep a wrist watch on the trouts.
вЂњWe have our personal brooders and obtain eggs and white milt from them. We rear rainbow trout for commercial purposes only as it is done in all of those other world,вЂќ he says, showing the brooders swimming into the pure water of this gushing stream.
Explaining the hatching process, he says, the eggs from females and milt that is white male brooders are harvested by stripping their bellies. вЂњThe eggs are fertilised in hatcheries by continuing to keep them in trays which are put under running water. It often takes a month to hatch these eggs into fry, which are put on high protein feed. The fish are shifted from hatcheries to outside additionally the recipe of feed is changed till it attains table size weight suited to commercial farming,вЂќ Bazaz says.
Plenty of potential
Kashmir leads trout production in India with more than 500 tonnes every year. вЂњThis is entirely consumed locally so there is potential and more private players are moving towards rearing trout,вЂќ he says.
A year ago, the farm earned Rs 1.83 crore out of which it sold seed for Rs 40 lakh to private farmers. вЂњThe breeding coincides with winter and because of silting that is heavy changing water parameters, the farm produces 40 lakh green ova out which it gets 15 lakh fry,вЂќ he says.
вЂњI have been rearing trout in my farm for 2 years. Once the fish attain table size, I get customers here at my farm. The trout is commercially viable,вЂќ says Ajaz Ahmad, who owns a private farm in South Kashmir.
Hard expertise and work
Kashmir is also known as the anglersвЂ™ paradise for which tourists, particularly foreigners, head for the water that is high-altitude. вЂњUsually, brown trout can be found in high-altitude lakes and streams since it feeds on animal prey species unlike rainbow trout. ItвЂ™s needs a expertise that is special catch trout,вЂќ says Manzoor Bhat, an angler from Tangmarg.
Syed Manzoor, a supervisor that is senior the Kokernag farm, says the breeding season is from October to February when seed is collected from the fish.
вЂњWe know which fish is ready for stripping. To help keep the hatcheries neat and harvesting the eggs is a hectic procedure that needs expertise which is why we have trained staff. We must regularly feed the fry and then the fish at different stages besides cleaning the raceways. All things are done manually. We even produce the feed here,вЂќ he says.
How the journey began
In Kashmir, the first trout ova, comprising 10,000 eggs, came from great britain in 1899. The batch perished that is entire. The second batch arrived from Scotland a year later, away from which 1,000 fry were transferred to Panzagam Dachigam (Harwan) while the rest reared into the premises of an exclusive carpet factory owner in Baghi, Dilawar Khan, in the middle of the city.