Jammu, Feb 14: Jammu and Kashmir has abundant water resources and great potential for fish and fisheries development. However, due to some challenges like outdated infrastructure, inbreeding depression, limited variety of aquaculture species, fragile aquatic ecosystems and lack of modern aquaculture technologies, Fish farming was not progressing.
Now, to overcome these challenges and make Fish farming a prosperous sector, the UT government has approved an Rs176 crore project to boost fish production. The project involves importing genetically improved fish seed, upgrading existing hatcheries and fish rearing units, introducing species diversity in aquaculture through R&D, and commercializing trout and carp fish production using modern technologies such as RAS and Biofloc.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Agriculture Production Department (APD), AtalDulloo, who leads the Agriculture Production Department of J&K, said that the aim of the project is to promote sustainable development of fisheries for nutritional security, employment generation, and economic prosperity in the UT of J&K. The programme aims to increase fish production, productivity, and growth rate, as well as to strengthen social security and welfare measures for the fishing community, facilitate improved post-harvest practices and value addition, and create market linkages, he added.
“One of the prime requisites for successful aquaculture is the availability of good quality fish seed. The Technical Programme under the project includes importing genetically improved varieties of fish seed to ensure the overall success of fish farming practices. Quality fish seed determines the health, size, growth rate, disease resistance, and other physical and physiological characteristics of the fish, which in turn affect the overall fish production”, Dulloo said.
The ACS further remarked that in addition to importing genetically improved fish seed, the Technical Programme also aims to establish new hatchery units and upgrade existing ones on modern scientific lines. This will improve the quality and quantity of fish seed available for fish farming, and enable the production of a more diverse range of aquaculture species, he added.
Notably, under the programme, the UT government also plans to establish 10 new trout hatcheries and two carp hatcheries, and upgrade 8 carp and 10 trout units. ‘Technological Interventions for Fish Seed and Trout Production in UT of J&K’ is one among the 29 projects, which were approved by the Jammu and Kashmir administration after being recommended by the UT Level Apex Committee for holistic development of Agriculture and Allied Sectors in UT of J&K.
The prestigious committee is headed by DrMangalaRai, Former DG ICAR and has other luminaries in the field of Agriculture, Planning, Statistics & Administration like Ashok Dalwai, CEO NRAA; Dr. P. K Joshi, Secretary, NAAS; DrPrabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner MOA & FW; Dr. H. S Gupta, Former Director, IARI; Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, J&K, AtalDulloo, apart from the Vice Chancellors of the twin Agriculture Universities of the UT.
The project also includes introducing species diversity in aquaculture through research and development (R&D). The UT government recognizes that a limited variety of aquaculture species is a challenge to the sector, and aims to address this through R&D. The programme will develop and introduce new species of fish for aquaculture, which will not only enhance the variety of fish available for farming but also reduce the risks of inbreeding depression.