The enormous treasure of natural water bodies and man made reservoirs in the state of Himachal Pradesh besides, several rivers hold tremendous potential for inland fisheries development. The State government is ensuring optimum exploitation of this potential through fishery. People are adopting fisheries for supplementing their income to ensure better livelihood. Major water bodies created under the hydro-projects include Gobind Sagar, Pong, Chamera and Ranjit Sagar Dams are the best potential for fishery.
Around 12,000 fishermen are associated with fish farming in the state. With the endeavours of the state government, four major schemes have been sanctioned by the National Fishery Development Board (NFDB) for Himachal to enhance the fish production, the skill development of the fishermen and to ensure the availability of the fresh fish in major cities of Himachal and the adjuscent States. A sum of Rupees 1.2 crore has been sanctioned for the financial year 2014-15 under these four Schemes.
These Schemes include expansion in basic marketing facilities, to provide scientific techniques of fishing for skill development of reservoir fishermen, to frame an extensive vision document to extend various fishery resources and to expand the Rainbow Trout Breeding Programme in the state. The state fishery department had already met the target of all these four programmes by spending Rs.1.9 Crore exceeding the granted budget of Rs 1.2 Crore.
For the marketing and transportation of the fish, four mobile vehicles have been purchased under the Central Sponsored Marketing Scheme by spending Rs 36 lakh. These vehicles ensure the supply of fresh fish at the door step in the major cities of the state and also in Chandigarh. The success of this programme reflects on the faces of the poor reservoir fishermen who are fetching better prices for their produce. The fishermen community is now in a position to lead a dignified life. At the same time, the programme is proving helpful in mitigating the demand of fresh fish in the State. Earlier, inadequate cold storage facility during summer was one of the causes of fish rotten. After adopting this programme, the fishermen now have got a sigh of relief as now adequtate storage facility has come up in the state.
The second scheme covers the skill development of the reservoir fishermen. They were provided with extensive training in fish farming. Till now, more than 900 reservoir fishermen have been trained in various groups and an expenditure of Rs 6.85 lakh occured. The scheme turned out to be a boon for the fishermen who remained deprived from the modern techniques in fishery equipments, processing and conservation etc. for the expansion of production of fish. This scheme has also strengthened the economic status of reservoir fishermen by providing vital information to them.
Under the third scheme, NFDB has made a provision of moderate financial grant for drafting an extensive fishery visionary agenda. The process for the preparation of the agenda with the provision of Rs 5 lakh is under process and it will take further 2 months to reach the target. Under this scheme main emphasis is on aqua culture, reservoir fishing and backyard fishing, etc. for extensive rural development.
The fourth scheme includes the breeding of Trout fish and also breeding of Rainbow Trout in the state. For this, 100 new Trout units are being constructed with an expenditure of 50.25 lakh. Constructions of most of the units have been completed and are now functional. Besides this, construction of two units of ornamental fish is under process in Kangra with an expenditure of Rs 12 lakh. On completion of these units, the long awaited demand of the state for ornamental fish will be fulfilled.