To boost fish farming and encourage water-based tourism in Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has decided to take up sports and recreational fish breeding and stocking in Kol Dam reservoir in Bilaspur district by next year.
The state Fisheries Department would stock seeds of sport-fishes like the Mahseer to attract anglers from India and abroad to promote high-end tourism in the reservoir, the Government said on Sunday.
At present, the common carp, the silver carp, and the grass carp fish species are being reared in the man-made water body.
The Department proposes to start sports fisheries in 1,302 hectares pondage falling in four districts — Bilaspur, Solan, Mandi and Shimla — by setting up angling huts in Kol Dam reservoir.
In 2018-19, the Kol Dam reservoir recorded highest 5.595 metric tonnes fish production, while in 2017-18, 3.105 metric tonnes fish production was recorded.
The State Government has fixed a target of nine metric tonnes for 2019-20, and, so far, has registered record fish production of 7.045 metric tonnes. In 2018-19, the maximum price of fish per kg was recorded at Rs 101 in Kol dam.
In order to address the problem of displacement for families who lost their lands in construction of Kol Dam, the State has created livelihood opportunities for displaced families through commercial fish production and has set up five cooperative societies for the commercial production of fisheries potential.
Dam oustees and erstwhile fishermen of the river and other poor families of the riparian area are enrolled as primary members of the fish co-operative societies.
At present, over 350 fishermen have been engaged in production of fish from Kol Dam to derive their livelihood.
Fish fauna of Satluj river is dominated by Schizothoracids, Mahseer, Minor carps, Cat fish and Trout in upper reaches. Silver carp fish of Gobind Sagar has also migrated upstream for feeding and breeding purposes where water temperature regime is almost on the same pattern as it is in its native place.
The Fisheries Department has created three fish landing centers in the reservoir at Kol in Bilaspur district, Beral in Solan district and at Sunni in Shimla district.
The three fish landing center buildings constructed are well-equipped with hi-tech facilities and hygienic conditions, so that quality of fish caught is maintained and fishermen get a good price of fish caught by them.
The fish caught by members of fish co-operative societies, is weighed daily and handed over to fish contractors, for its further marketing in these centers.
The Department proposes to shift fishing close season from present June 1 – July 31 to June 16 -August 15 every year shortly for better auto breeding of fish in the reservoir.
The Department has done 3.876 lakh fish seed stocking up to November 2019, while in the year 2018-19, 3.747 lakh fish seed stocking was done from departmental farms as well as purchase from outside the state through tender process.
The Fisheries Department is conducting a preliminary survey regarding the availability of land and water in close proximity of reservoirs, so that carp hatcheries and rearing ponds can be established near these reservoirs for raising advanced fingerlings for stocking in the reservoir.
As many as 24 fish cages for culture of coldwater trout fish is being installed in Kol Dam by the Department for increasing fish production, while 28 fish cages were installed in Gobind Sagar reservoir, which are being used for production of advanced fingerlings for stocking in the reservoirs.