The Reservoirs and Natural Lakes, especially in sub-mountainous region of the State are not only home to number of Inland fish species but also holds a prominent place in the fish production and are bestowed with multi species like Trout, Golden Mahseer, indigenous Barilas, Snow Trout, Loaches etc.
As aquaculture is one of the best environment friendly avocation and considered to be a vehicle for rural development, the Himachal Pradesh Government has identified important areas for maintaining pace and growth of this sector.
An outlay of Rs.26.33 crore has been proposed in the 12th Five year Plan for development of fisheries and Rs. 6.61 crore in annual Plan 2013-14 as against Rupees 4.44 crore in the year 2012-13. The government has taken a decision for modernization and construction of Inland-Fish Landing Centers in the vicinity of reservoirs by making a provision of Rs. 1.89 crore this year. Besides, the Government of India has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 9.18 crore under National Mission for Protein Supplements (NMPS) for strengthening of Carp Seed Farms as well as for the extension of Aquaculture Programme in the State.
The State Government had been successful in transferring the technology of Rainbow Trout Farming in trout sector and as many as 370 trout units had been constructed through 160 trout growers and 100 new trout units were also being added by providing technical and financial assistance to the trout growers. To meet the requirement of fish seed in the State, the government proposes to hire and motivate private entrepreneurs to establish carp seeds farms for promoting fish seed production as commercial trout farming has evoked far better interest among the trout growers. Recently 30,000 seed of Rainbow Trout had been exported to Bhutan and two lakh seed had been sold to Sikkim from trout fish farm, Patlikhul, which was a record production of Trout seed during the current year. The annual production of trout alone is over 205 MT annually besides, the total fish production in the State in 2012-13 was 8560.89 metric tonne which is 515 MT higher than last year production.
Apart from this the department of fisheries is working on to explore the possibilities for technical and specialized assistance for producing ornamental fishes which would help giving new dimension to socio-economic uplift of rural populace engaged in this vocation.
The current fish production from different resources in the State during 2011-12 was 8045 metric tonne. The Govindsagar Reservoir has set the highest record of per hectare fish production in the Country. During this year 1212.73 MT fish were produced which amounts to 121.3 Kgs per hectare per annum.
The department of fisheries, besides providing financial support for development of infrastructure for fisheries as well as for inputs under different departmental and centrally sponsored schemes as Fish Farm Development Agency (FFDA), National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), RKVY a new scheme, ‘Aquaculture Development through Integrated Approach’, which involves development of fish hatcheries, nursery/rearing areas feed mills by creating infrastructure for marketing, is being implemented in district Una, Nalagarh area of District Solan and Indora area of district Kangra by providing capacity building programme for the farmers to upgrade their skills.
The Una district will be the focal point of fisheries activities where fish seed and hatchery having capacity to raise 100 million fish seed every year including 10 hectare Nursery and 22 hectare rearing area besides feed mill will be developed. Another 10 hectare rearing area in Solan and 8 hectare in Kangra district would be further developed under this scheme.
The State Government has also proposed to develop infrastructure for Carp fish seed raising upto fingerling size at Fish Seed Farm Deoli (Gagret) in Una district with a motive to stock the fish seeds so produced in State reservoirs to facilitate those involved in the avocation. A decision has been taken to stock the reservoirs of Gobind Sagar in district Bilaspur, Pong Dam in district Kangra and Chamera reservoir in Chamba district with commercially important fish species besides giving new orientation to the observance of fishing close season during breeding season of fish.
The fisheries department has initiated a phased programme on remodeling and expansion of existing trout farms besides constructing new ones. Five Trout seed farms have been set up at Patlikhul in district Kullu, Barot in district Mandi, Holi in Chamba, Dhamwari in Shimla district and Sangla in Kinnaur. Under this programme augmentation of water supply and setting up of modern hatchery has been taken up at Barot and Dhamwari farms. A new trout fish farm is under construction at Hamni in Kullu District. To revive the pristine glory of Mahseer Fisheries in the rivers as well as reservoir sectors of state, a Mahseer Fish farm is near its final stages of completion at Machhial in Mandi District.
The Government has initiated number of welfare schemes for fisher family which includes Fishermen Risk fund scheme, wherein financial assistance is provided on loss of gill-nets, wooden boats and tents. A sum of Rs 1200 is being given to each fisherman during the two months close season under Close Season Assistance Scheme. All licensed and active fishermen are being provided rupees one Lakh in case of permanent disability or causality and Rs. 50,000 on partial permanent disability under Fishermen Group Accidental Insurance Scheme, totally free, as cost of premium is borne by State and Central Governments, both on 50:50 basis.